Betty McCollum leads charge to rid NFL of "demeaning" Redskins team name
Goodell to McCollum: "Neither in intent nor use was the name ever meant to denigrate Native Americans or offend any group."
Betty McCollum represents St. Paul in the House of Representatives, but as co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, she's leading the charge to get a D.C. sports team to change its name.
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McCollum and eight other Congress members recently wrote a letter to Washington Redskins owner Dan Synder urging him "to change the name of your NFL franchise."
"Native Americans throughout the country consider the term 'redskin' a racial, derogatory slur akin to the 'N-word' among African Americans or the 'W-word' among Latinos," McCollum and her colleagues wrote. "Such offensive epithets would no doubt draw wide-spread disapproval among the NFL's fan base. Yet the national coverage of Washington's NFL team profits from a term that is equally disparaging to Native Americans."
But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's response suggests the NFL and Redskins organization aren't interested in moving away from the "Redskins."
"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," Goodell writes in a letter addressed to McCollum and Republican Rep. Tom Cole (the two co-chair the Native American Caucus). "Indeed, the most recent detailed survey of Native Americans, conducted by the independent and highly respected Annenberg Public Policy Center, found that fewer than 10% considered the name objectionable. Among the general public, an Associated Press survey conducted just two months ago found that only 11% felt it should be changed."
But on Twitter, McCollum indicated she's not satisfied with Goodell's response.
"Disappointed in NFL's attempt to justify a racial slur. Native Americans deserve to be treated with respect [and] dignity," she wrote.
To read the complete text of the letter McCollum co-wrote and Goodell's response, click to page two.
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