NFL Commissioner seems to agree with this sign. Indian country may beg to differ.

NFL Commissioner Tells Congress 'Redskins' Is a Positive Name


Ten members of Congress sent a letter May 13 to Daniel Snyder, owner of the NFL’s Washington, D.C., franchise, urging him to change the club's name.  Similar letters were sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, FedEx President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Smith (FedEx is a sponsor of Snyder’s franchise, and the team plays at FedExField), and the owners of the NFL’s other 31 clubs. (Read more: Congress Members to Daniel Snyder: Change Your Team's Name)

In their letter, the ten representatives stated, “Native Americans throughout the country consider the R-word a racial, derogatory slur akin to theN-word among African Americans or the W-word among Latinos.  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.” (Read the entire letter here.)

Although Snyder has not responded to the Congress members, sticking to his "We will NEVER drop Redskins name" guns, NFL Commissioner Goodell has. In a letter dated June 5 and sent to the co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus, Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) and Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), both of whom are among the 10 Congress members who sent the the letter to Snyder and Goodell and cosponsors of the Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013 (H.R. 1278), Goodell spelled out the NFL's position.

"The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context," writes Goodell. "For the team's millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America's most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.

Curiously, Goodell refers to an interview on with "a full-blooded American Inuit chief originally from the Aleutian Tribes of Alaska," as evidence to support the NFL's position. 

Read Goodell's entire letter here. (Related: Congress Members Respond to NFL Commissioner's Support for 'Redskins' Name)


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Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Well then its ok to say lets name a NFL team White skin's or Black skins or Yellow skin's, what do you say to that? Sound a little weird, not right, racist somehow. But I don't think I want to be a fan of a NFL team etc...if its call the Washington White Skins, its just don't seem right and non racist!

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
What an ignorant bunch of Imperialist racist excuses bull and NFL asswipes! We worship this stupid sport to much anyway, there just a bunch of egotistical white racist asswipes!

vedwin's picture
Submitted by vedwin on
It took two seconds of googling to find out that Goodell's assertion that William "Lone Star" Dietz was a Native American and that the team name was to honor him is almost certainly false.

Kulibway's picture
Submitted by Kulibway on
That my friends is rich. I'm not a Native American, but the word Redskin is a racial slur. How can a slur be allowed to stand because it brings pride to non Native Americans. It's not your time yet, it's now politically correct to be gay but not Native American. Maybe in ten years it will be offensive. Rich White men get away with whatever the want to. Goodell just joined the Donald in dumb white racist.

Bill O'Connell's picture
Bill O'Connell
Submitted by Bill O'Connell on
Congress should get busy improving the economy and other national matters than wasting time with this non-sense!!

T.D. Reed's picture
T.D. Reed
Submitted by T.D. Reed on
Basically, Senators, you need to find a new agenda and leave this one alone. Stop agitating the 90% favoring the team name and marks, and tell the 10% that do not to deal with it; you tried. I find the name Redskin to be much less offensive than the term "injun", a nasty and obviously disrespectful term for Native Americans and/or their descendants. That stated, the Cleveland Indians baseball franchise has to endure this same incessant attack on their team name and marks. The Indians, too, have the similar type of following that the Washington football club has. And the Cleveland team has just as respectful a representation of their team name and marks as the Washington club has. Notice the difference in HOW the names are said: Indian vs. "injun". One term identifies; the other denegrates. Enough, now. Let this be.

Indian dude's picture
Indian dude
Submitted by Indian dude on
I'm an indian, and I dont mind there name or logo. As long as they Win! If they lose, then i'm pissed.

Indian dude 's picture
Indian dude
Submitted by Indian dude on
There fans dress up as pigs. What does that have to do with indians? There helmet logo is the guy off the coin. I love the colors, on their uniforms. As long as they win! Who cares? The next thing you know, Green Bay will have to change its name because it offends Gay Men.

Brown's picture
Submitted by Brown on
People are so uneducated in the meaning of the word "redskin." It is a derogatory term. Caucasian people used to hunt Native Americans and bring proof back of payment by cutting a piece of a Native American's skin, so they called it "redskin." Bringing back a man's skin was cause for more money than for women & children and Roger Goodell is saying that the name is meant for positivity, is crap!

NFL Hater's picture
NFL Hater
Submitted by NFL Hater on
I am not even an NFL fan, and I am also one-half Lakota. I have no issues with the nickname. It obviously celebrates our heritage and proudly refers to your history. I think that the U.S. Congress should look at other issues that may be a little more important. Like what you ask? Oh, I don't know, how about the many, many treaties the U.S. has broken with its Native peoples? I think that's just a wee bit more important than a silly nickname for a football team. I may start rooting for the Redskins just to do my little party to piss off this left-wing-nut Congress!!

Mojo Hand's picture
Mojo Hand
Submitted by Mojo Hand on
ummm, you do know that members of congress are supposed to represent ALL people, right? It's easy for those with white privilege to say it's all nonsense and to stop. you don't get to define who Native people are or any other marginalized minority group. that is a debate to be held by Native Americans. why do some of you insist on trying to define who minorities are?

greg carpousis's picture
greg carpousis
Submitted by greg carpousis on
Roger Godell is a great person and a great American. He has brought moral accountabilty and integrity to our society as commisioner of the NFL .The NFL represents our culture in this country. Mr.Godell statement regarding the "Redskins" name states clearly the respect associated from its origin . No political correctness nor hypocritcal interest group should be succesful in tainting the intent of people that respectively favor using the Redskin emblem. I am sure that many native Americans were thrilled when the "Skins" won three super bowls. I don' believe this debate will go away, though , a portion of our society today is more concerned about form than substance. The "psuedo moral enlightenment" calls Christmas , the celebration of the winter solstice, hope no one is offended. Please people if you want to drink a 64 ounce soda and eat fast foods go ahead. Roger thanks for saving the NFL. Thanks for being a leader. Think about running for US presidency in 2016, I am sure you can make a difference.

Anon's picture
Submitted by Anon on
As a Native American I see no problems with it. "Redskins" referred originally to tribes that painted themselves with red dirt or pigments. Not due to the natural nature of their skin. " People are so uneducated in the meaning of the word "redskin." It is a derogatory term. Caucasian people used to hunt Native Americans and bring proof back of payment by cutting a piece of a Native American's skin, so they called it "redskin."" This is incorrect. I don't know if you know this but if you try and cut off goes pale very quickly. Any color of skin. It's called science.

Kc's picture
Submitted by Kc on
Everyone here needs to get a grip!... The Redskin name has a proud history and represents a fine organization. And calling a sports team then "White Sox"s or the names from the negro league's Brown bombers, Black Barrons, Clowns, Colored Gohers, Colored Braves, etc... were clearly accepted by their own race! So get a grip folks and just go settle down and focus on something worthwhile....

Ted Signora's picture
Ted Signora
Submitted by Ted Signora on
I grew up watching the Redskins and living in Montgomery County (Gaithersburg), MD. For 20 years, Joe Gibbs return notwithstanding, this team finished last in the NFC East with perennial frequency. As is customary, the correlation of the team's success and the accompanying criticism of the team name coincide. It is THE TEAM NAME! Now, not only are the Redskins the hottest property in the World, along with ROY honors by Robert "The Franchise" Griffin III the controversy of name change would be excruciatingly expensive and ENTIRELY UNFAIR to Mr. Snyder. He is a marketing genius and has the Redskins near the top of a very short list of greatest revenue producing sports franchises on the planet. If Congress wants to impose their will against Mr. Snyder's rights to a highly successful money generating machine that he has molded so magnificently, make the government compensate him for the hundreds of millions of dollars he will certainly lose by forcing a name change now that he has achieved the high profile entity he worked so hard to create. Most franchises aren't worth the money he generates each year. The tribes have sovereignty and tons of casino money. Perhaps if they compensated Mr. Snyder in a very generous and appropriate way for what is legally his, he would relent. It will take much too long to return the franchise to it's current momentum.

Glenn Landrum's picture
Glenn Landrum
Submitted by Glenn Landrum on
In sports, teams are generally given names that are associated with strength, vitality, and honor. Such is the name "Redskin". Even though those who had immigrated to this country had issues with the Native Americans, they were respected for their bravery, warrior mentality in combat, and willingness to give all for their cause. It is the same reason we give teams names such as "Tigers", "Lions", "Bears", "Eagles", "Hawks", etc. The college and pro teams that have given their teams names associated with Native Americans are actually honoring those people by using the name. If they weren't thought highly of, the name wouldn't have been used.

Jane Tunning Stewart's picture
Jane Tunning Stewart
Submitted by Jane Tunning Stewart on
Washington Hogs

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
This is actually a broader continuing issue of domination/subordination. Those who belong to a traditionally dominant group here in America (i.e. White men) are just doing what they've always done, which is blindly accepting their privileged status to ignore and refute minority dissent. You do not get to dictate to a historically oppressed people what they can/cannot find offensive and derogatory. Let me repeat: You do not get to tell us what is offensive and racist to us. 'Redskins' is a slur, bottom line. Not every Native is offended by that, but that doesn't give everyone else the go-ahead to use it like it doesn't matter. White privilege grants you a lot of things -- here it even lets you ignore the reality of the racism. Screw the general public's opinion. That's using the tyranny of the majority as a justification. By relying on those justifications and by claiming that you're 'honoring' Natives with literal caricatures and racial slurs while dismissing objections from the minority community itself, you are reinforcing your own privilege and devaluing our status as real people with real concerns. Also, don't tell us to calm down. Don't say it's not a big deal. Because when you watch millions of people around you buying into the racism for their own entertainment -- racism that's just one more example of the same crap that hasn't changed for centuries -- you get pretty fed-up, frustrated, and angry. Don't say this isn't something that Congressmen aren't allowed to address. Don't you dare tell me it's nonsense. Because while it may not be an everyday concern for you, this issue is part of a pretty fundamental problem in other people's lives. In other words, IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. The world doesn't revolve around white men.

Brown's picture
Submitted by Brown on
Anon---It is not the science part that I am referring to, it's the term used in a derogatory way to hunt Native Americans, it was a term used deliberately in the wrong way. I never referred to science. It was a term used to refer to what you bring in for payment. "This is incorrect. I don't know if you know this but if you try and cut off goes pale very quickly. Any color of skin. It's called science."

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Did someone REALLY just suggest that Indians pay off rich white men to not be racist when many Indian communities and reservations are struggling with poverty? Are you that shallow that you need bribery to not be a raging racist? Y'all's "noble effort" to "honor" Indians isn't praiseworthy. You don't understand at all. It's misled and offensive. I say this as an Indian.