Their nickname has been one of the most controversial in all of professional sports, and now, the political storm behind the name is brewing once again. 10 members of United States congress are asking the Washington Redskins to change their name because it is viewed as offensive to Native Americans.
Congress sent out letters to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Redskins owner Dan Snyder and the rest of the 31 teams in the league. The letter says that Native Americans take offense to the nickname, as they consider it a racial and derogatory slur. Two of the members of congress behind the effort are the leaders of the Congressional Native American Caucus, Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Betty McCollum, D-Minn.
The letter went on to say that it was a moral responsibility to disavow the usage of racial slurs, saying the nickname was especially harmful to Native American youth as it damaged their self esteem, and diminishes the feeling of community worth among Native American tribes.
While members of Congress find it offensive, team officials have repeatedly stated that they have no plans to change the name. A poll conducted by the Associated Press showed that 79 percent of Americans do not think the team should change its name. In an interview with USA Today, Snyder said that the team will never change the name, even going as far to say the reporter could use all caps when using the word ‘never.’
“I think it’s a non-issue and it’s been a non-issue for decades,” said Redskins general manager Bruce Allen. “We really don’t get the talk that other people get because we hear from our fans. And our fans will always be our fans of the Washington Redskins.”