Congress Members Respond to NFL Commissioner's Support for 'Redskins' Name

ICTMN Staff
6/11/13

Two members of Congress,  Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) and Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota) have issued responses to the June 5 letter sent by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding the league's position on the Washington, D.C. franchise's use of the name "Redskins." Goodell wrote in his letter that the term, considered offensive--racist--by many Native Americans, has a "positive meaning." (Read Goodell's entire letter here.)

Congressman Faleomavaega responded to the letter with the following statement:

“Mr. Goodell has completely missed the point regarding the Washington franchise’s name. In his recent letter, he acknowledges the NFL’s ‘responsibility to exemplify […] values of diversity and inclusion.’ Yet in the same letter he fails to assume any responsibility for the racism that the Washington franchise’s name continues to promote. You cannot have it both ways. Whether good intentioned or not, the fact of the matter is that the term ‘Redskin’ is a racial slur that disparages Native Americans. It is time for the NFL to stop making excuses for itself and fully embrace its so-called commitment to diversity.”

Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus Congresswoman McCollum issued the following response:

“Unfortunately, NFL Commissioner Goodell’s letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of 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. For the head of a multi-billion dollar sports league to embrace the twisted logic that ‘Redskin’ actually ‘stands for strength, courage, pride, and respect’ is a statement of absurdity.

“Would Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder actually travel to a Native American community and greet a group tribal members by saying, ‘Hey, what’s up redskin?’ I think not. (“Hey, what’s up redskin” is >a quote from materials provided to my office by the NFL, along with the claim that “Redskins” is a “term of endearment” among Native Americans.)

“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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Comments

Ron Bisbee's picture
Ron Bisbee
Submitted by Ron Bisbee on
As a fan, I have never thought of the name in a disrespectful way. Shouldn't these 10 congressman and woman be solving other more important serious issues that America faces.

MIKE ANDERSON's picture
MIKE ANDERSON
Submitted by MIKE ANDERSON on
JUST ANOTHER THING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT....WHAT'S NEXT? I SUPPOSE WE ARE UPSETTING DOLPHINS, SEAHAWKS & CARDINALS TOO. I AM PERSONALLY OFFENDED THAT BASEBALL ACTUALLY HAD A TEAM NAMED AFTER "SENATORS"....NOW THAT'S OFFENSIVE!

william hunter's picture
william hunter
Submitted by william hunter on
I have always admired the native American Indian.In fact I worked with them on high rise buildings No one works better then walking and connecting steel.They have my utmost. respect. When I young watching l heard the old refain the only good indian was a dead indian. Now that was offensive. However ther are more social issues to be addresed.

william hunter's picture
william hunter
Submitted by william hunter on
I have always admired the native American Indian.In fact I worked with them on high rise buildings No one works better then walking and connecting steel.They have my utmost. respect. When I young watching l heard the old refain the only good indian was a dead indian. Now that was offensive. However ther are more social issues to be addresed.

Dean's picture
Dean
Submitted by Dean on
I think congress should devote its effort and time into matters of more importance, than to a NFL football name, that they are taking out of context. The name was never, nor will it ever be, a slur on Native Americans. Quit wasting taxpayers money on a matter you are reading into it, that which doesn't exist. Fight the fights that matter on improving our great nation, and not ones to divide it. There is not a widespread uproar over their name, for it has existed for decades, with no implication that it is slurring our Native American people or their heritage or cultural. You are simply making a mountain out of nothing. Find solutions to our economic woes, our financial deficit, poverty level, health care issues and our world relationships.
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