05.29.13

Here Are 10 U.S. Lawmakers Who Want the Redskins to Change Their 'Derogatory' Name

Washington Redskin team owner Dan Snyder received a letter this week from 10 members of Congress demanding he change the name of his National Football League Team.

“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,” the letter reads.

The 10 U.S. lawmakers said Tuesday they sent copies of the letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Redskins sponsor FedEx, and the other 31 NFL franchises.

“Such offensive epithets would no doubt draw widespread disapproval among the NFL’s fan base. Yet the national coverage of Washington’s NFL football team profits from a term that is equally disparaging to Native Americans,” it adds.

The letter continues:

"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."

The 10 members of Congress who drafter the letter include:

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.)
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.)
Rep. Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.)
Rep. Donna M. Christensen (D-Va.)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.)
Rep. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa)

Snyder, for his part, has vowed to never change the team’s name.

To read this article in its original format, go here.