Last month, 10 members of Congress sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (among others), urging him to consider changing the name of Washington's professional football team. You know, the one that begins with "R" and ends with "edskins."
Well, Goodell responded to that letter last week and defended the team's name, saying that it is "a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."
"As you correctly recognize, the issues raised with respect to the Washington Redskins name are complex, and we respect that reasonable people may view it differently, particularly over time," wrote Goodell, who cited public opinion polls showing that most don't consider the name to be offensive. "The National Football League takes seriously its responsibility to exemplify the values of diversity and inclusion that make our country great."
In a response released as part of a joint statement with Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) was none too pleased.
"Goodell's letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of (Redskins owner) 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," she said.
"Would Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder actually travel to a Native American community and greet a group of tribal leaders by saying, 'Hey, what's up, redskin?' I think not. … 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."
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