Because the issues surrounding the Redskins name will never go away, 10 members of Congress recently wrote a letter to team owner Dan Snyder, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, FedEx president/CEO Frederick Smith and the other 31 NFL owners urging them all to consider adopting a new nickname for Washington's football team.
The 10 members in question are as follows: Co-Chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.), Donna M. Christensen (D-U.S. Virgin Islands), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), and Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa).
The current Chairman and Chief of the Penobscot Nation, Chief Kirk Francis, recently stated in a joint statement that the [R-word] is ‘not just a racial slur or a derogatory term,’ but a painful ‘reminder of one of the most gruesome acts of . . . ethnic cleansing ever committed against the Penobscot people.’ The hunting and killing of Penobscot Indians like animals, as declared by Chief Francis, was ‘a most despicable and disgraceful act of genocide.’
In this day and age, it is imperative that you uphold your moral responsibility to disavow the usage of racial slurs. The usage of the [“R-word”] is especially harmful to Native American youth, tending to lower their sense of dignity and self-esteem. It also diminishes feelings of community worth among the Native American tribes and dampens the aspirations of their people.
We look forward to working with you to find a solution to this important matter.
The letter also said that "Native Americans throughout the country consider the ‘R-word’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos" and that "the national coverage of Washington’s NFL football team profits from a term that is equally disparaging to Native Americans."
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