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Betty McCollum blasts Redskins owner for not changing team name

McCollum: "Snyder wants to keep profiting from his team's racist brand and use those profits to attempt to buy the silence of Native Americans."
McCollum: "Snyder wants to keep profiting from his team's racist brand and use those profits to attempt to buy the silence of Native Americans."

Rep. Betty McCollum is co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, and in that role, she's led the push to get Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the team's name, which she characterizes as a "derogatory slur akin to the 'N-word' among African Americans or the 'W-word' among Latinos."

Though NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suggested last fall he's open to a change, Snyder announced last night he's sticking with Redskins.

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In a statement, Snyder wrote, "In speaking face-to-face with Native American leaders and community members, it's plain to see they need action, not words."

While he's not changing the team name, Snyder did announce the creation of the Redskins Original Americans Foundation, which will fund projects benefiting Native American communities throughout the country.

But that's not satisfactory to McCollum, who blasted Snyder in a statement released this afternoon. Here it is:

"For almost eighty years the National Football League and its Washington franchise have exploited a racist Indian caricature, turning it into a billion dollar brand while completely ignoring the needs of real Native American children, families, and elders.

"Now, team owner Dan Snyder wants to keep profiting from his team's racist brand and use those profits to attempt to buy the silence of Native Americans with a foundation that is equal parts public relations scheme and tax deduction.

"The NFL and its Washington franchise's legacy of exploitation of Native American identity is real as has been noted by tribal leaders, national Native American organizations, journalists, and Members of Congress. Dan Snyder should immediately change the racist name of his NFL team and then commit a portion of his profits to addressing the issues facing Native American communities across the country."

McCollum isn't the only Minnesota notable to call for Snyder to change the name. Chris Kluwe , the MN ACLU , Mark Dayton, R.T. Rybak , and the American Indian Movement have all echoed the congresswoman's position in recent months.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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