Ten members of Congress recently sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners of the 32 NFL franchises requesting that the Washington Redskins change their team name because it is incredibly offensive to Native Americans. Goodell has issued a response via a letter of his own.
"The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context," Goodell writes in the letter. "For the team's millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America's most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."
Among the group from Congress that sent the letters requesting the name change are the leaders of the Congressional Native American Caucus, Tom Cole and Betty McCollum, ESPN reported.
McCollum issued the following response:
“Unfortunately, NFL Commissioner Goodell’s letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of Dan Snyder and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning ever larger profits, even if it means exploiting a racist stereotype of Native Americans. For the head of a multi-billion dollar sports league to embrace the twisted logic that ‘Redskin’ actually ‘stands for strength, courage, pride, and respect’ is a statement of absurdity.”
“Would Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder actually travel to a Native American community and greet a group tribal members by saying, ‘Hey, what’s up redskin?’ I think not. (“Hey, what’s up redskin” is a quote from materials provided to my office by the NFL, along with the claim that “Redskins” is a “term of endearment” among Native Americans.)
"Indian children, families and elders are Americans, and just like all racial, ethnic, or religious groups, they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not as a demeaning caricature or mascot. That shouldn’t be too much to ask of the NFL.”
Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder has vowed that he will never change the name.