Lawmakers to NFL: Change Redskins' Name, or Else
League faces threat to tax-exempt status
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 10, 2014 9:58 AM CST
n this May 1, 2009 file photo, the Washington Redskins' Marko Mitchell puts his helmet on during an NFL football minicamp in Ashburn, Va.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(Newser) – The Washington Redskins' name is facing a new attack, this time from two members of Congress. Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, who heads the Indian Affairs Committee, tells the New York Times that if the NFL doesn't take action, legislators will "definitely" review the league's tax-exempt status. "You're getting a tax break for educational purposes, but you're still embracing a name that people see as a slur and encouraging it," says Cantwell. She and Republican Rep. Tom Cole, a Native American Caucus member, have today sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell condemning the name. Cole is one of two Native Americans on Capitol Hill, the Washington Post notes.

"The National Football League can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur," the letter says, noting that "virtually every major civil rights organization in America has spoken out in opposition to this name." The lawmakers call on Goodell and the NFL to formally back a name change; though they aren't explicit about the league's 501(c)(6) status being in jeopardy in the letter, they do mention that status. A Redskins spokesman replies, via the Times: "With all the important issues Congress has to deal with, such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care, don’t they have more important issues to worry about than a football team's name?" He adds: "Given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means 'red people' in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic."

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Showing 3 of 168 comments
Mike Hunt
Feb 22, 2014 2:53 PM CST
To hell with the congressmen. How do the Indians feel about it??! I've spoke with many Indians in the west and east and the overwhelming answer is not native American but Indian or the name of their tribe. Redskin is acceptable also.
scooter
Feb 20, 2014 7:45 AM CST
If your going to change the name of a good football team to make yourselves feel better then change the presidents name Im sick and tired of hearing his name he is irrelevant, and a liar.
jonnymop
Feb 15, 2014 3:52 AM CST
I don't care what america calls them. I do know why they were called redskins though. Not the color of their skin. Back in the day if you brought in a dead Indian you were paid a bounty. It was so effective that we didn't want to deal with the bodies so we asked our patriots to just bring us the heads of the people that lived here before us. That too was very effective so we said to just bring us the scalp, hair, of our now enemy. And so we did, women, children, men, scalped them and many lived with blood, red blood, running down their face and bodies, "red skins"