U.S. Senators send letter to Roger Goodell, asking for the Redskins to change their name

U.S. Senators are stepping in to ask the Redskins to change their name

5/22/14 in NFL   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

Aug 19, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder on the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY SportsThe pressure continues to build on Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the name to something less offensive.

Now, a group of U.S. Senators have sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to follow the NBA's example and rid itself of all racism and bigotry. The Redskins' name, they say, is an example of that.

An excerpt from the letter:
 
"Today, we urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports, It's time for the NFL to endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C. football team. The despicable comments made by Mr. Sterling have opened up a national conversation about race relations. We believe this conversation is an opportunity for the NFL to take action to remove the racial slur from the name of one of its marquee franchises."

NFL representatives say that they haven't yet received the letter, but they have supported Snyder in his efforts to retain the name so far, and don't show any signs of changing that.
 
"We have not received the letter, but the NFL has long demonstrated a commitment to progressive leadership on issues of diversity and inclusion, both on and off the field. The intent of the team's name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image. The name is not used by the team or the NFL in any other context, though we respect those that view it differently. The team name is not used by the team or the NFL in any other context, though we respect those that view it differently."

Yes, the good old 'we realize some people are offended by it, but we don't mean it that way so it's totally ok' defense.

Perhaps some day the old white men who run the NFL will realize that their opinions on the offensiveness of the name have no relevance whatsoever, and they should probably listen more carefully to the people who are affected by it.
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5/24/14   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

Bruce Allen of the Washington Redskins has responded, in writing.  You can read the letter here.

5/23/14   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

I see a lot of Washington fans defending the name and I generally assume its because we're fans and we're all a bit irrational about our teams. The defense of this team name is equal to when white people decide they can say n***a because they hear it in their favorite rap song.

I'll also just say there's problems with the Indians, Braves, Blackhawks etc, but Pat perfectly laid out why this team name is the most offensive.

5/23/14   |   Jess   |   35098 respect

JenX63 wrote:
Nope. It seems to me that folks don't think I find the name of my team derogatory. It seems too, that folks are bent on getting me to see "their" point of view. If you read my original comment, I plainly said I was playing "devil's advocate". I mentioned the political side of things, cause Pat used it in naming his story and the first paragraph. I'm not lost, nor am I getting "hitched up" on the political thing, merely making observations, my own only. I can't speak for anyone else.

Oh I didn't mean you specifically with the getting hung up on the senator thing...that's what I'm seeing EVERYWHERE. Lots of ESPN posts, Fox Sports, etc. all over about it lately.

5/23/14   |   JenX63   |   33168 respect

kobe_lova wrote:
I've read nothing and I'm responding from my feed just to say (I assume), that the point is, if you had to or if you chose to, would that be the word you used?

Nope. It seems to me that folks don't think I find the name of my team derogatory. It seems too, that folks are bent on getting me to see "their" point of view. If you read my original comment, I plainly said I was playing "devil's advocate". I mentioned the political side of things, cause Pat used it in naming his story and the first paragraph. I'm not lost, nor am I getting "hitched up" on the political thing, merely making observations, my own only. I can't speak for anyone else.

5/23/14   |   kobe_lova   |   62371 respect

JenX63 wrote:
I have never introduced a friend using their ethnicity. That is not how I was brought up. Any introduction of a friend is and always has been this is my friend Debi, or Jess, or Ash {examples}.
As for describing them, again, I have never used color, culture, or any of those things. I guess the era I was raised in and who raised me has a lot to do with that.

I've read nothing and I'm responding from my feed just to say (I assume), that the point is, if you had to or if you chose to, would that be the word you used?

5/23/14   |   Jess   |   35098 respect

JenX63 wrote:
I have never introduced a friend using their ethnicity. That is not how I was brought up. Any introduction of a friend is and always has been this is my friend Debi, or Jess, or Ash {examples}.
As for describing them, again, I have never used color, culture, or any of those things. I guess the era I was raised in and who raised me has a lot to do with that.

I don't introduce my friends by anything like that either. I don't think that was really the point he was trying to make though. If I said, "Michael and I went to see Godzilla last week" and I have more than one friend named Michael, if someone who didn't know them well asked, "which Michael?" I would answer "my gay friend," not "my f** friend." F*g holds a negative connotation. If someone asked me to specify, I would say "my native friend" rather than "my redskin friend"...not that I would necessarily introduce them that way.

5/23/14   |   JenX63   |   33168 respect

Pat wrote:
My personal litmus test:
Would you use the word to describe a friend or acquaintance of yours who is of Native American descent?

I don't think you'd have a problem introducing him or her as your 'Indian' friend. Or your 'Seminole' friend, if he or she were a member of that particular tribe. You wouldn't say that they're a 'Brave,' but that's not because it would be offensive, it's because it has a more distinct and narrow definition that doesn't really describe anyone currently.

On the other hand, if you introduced that friend to someone by saying "this is my Redskin friend _______," you might lose a friend.

Simple as that.

I have never introduced a friend using their ethnicity. That is not how I was brought up. Any introduction of a friend is and always has been this is my friend Debi, or Jess, or Ash {examples}.
As for describing them, again, I have never used color, culture, or any of those things. I guess the era I was raised in and who raised me has a lot to do with that.

5/23/14   |   Jess   |   35098 respect

Pat wrote:
My personal litmus test:
Would you use the word to describe a friend or acquaintance of yours who is of Native American descent?

I don't think you'd have a problem introducing him or her as your 'Indian' friend. Or your 'Seminole' friend, if he or she were a member of that particular tribe. You wouldn't say that they're a 'Brave,' but that's not because it would be offensive, it's because it has a more distinct and narrow definition that doesn't really describe anyone currently.

On the other hand, if you introduced that friend to someone by saying "this is my Redskin friend _______," you might lose a friend.

Simple as that.

Thank you so much for this...you is smart, and worded it so much better than I possibly could in three times more posts.

5/23/14   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

Pat wrote:
My personal litmus test:
Would you use the word to describe a friend or acquaintance of yours who is of Native American descent?

I don't think you'd have a problem introducing him or her as your 'Indian' friend. Or your 'Seminole' friend, if he or she were a member of that particular tribe. You wouldn't say that they're a 'Brave,' but that's not because it would be offensive, it's because it has a more distinct and narrow definition that doesn't really describe anyone currently.

On the other hand, if you introduced that friend to someone by saying "this is my Redskin friend _______," you might lose a friend.

Simple as that.

Probably the single most valid point I've read for the push to change the name, and I have to admit, my opinion is wavering.  

Although I might introduce a friend as "this is my friend, ____, from Haida Gwaii", I don't believe I would ever introduce a friend as "This is ______, my Haida friend" as identifying he or she by location, not race, is the important thing.  

I have to think on this more.  

5/23/14   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

My personal litmus test:
Would you use the word to describe a friend or acquaintance of yours who is of Native American descent?

I don't think you'd have a problem introducing him or her as your 'Indian' friend. Or your 'Seminole' friend, if he or she were a member of that particular tribe. You wouldn't say that they're a 'Brave,' but that's not because it would be offensive, it's because it has a more distinct and narrow definition that doesn't really describe anyone currently.

On the other hand, if you introduced that friend to someone by saying "this is my Redskin friend _______," you might lose a friend.

Simple as that.

5/22/14   |   Jess   |   35098 respect

JenX63 wrote:
as to your point #1: for now, they are OK. Once the door is open, someone, somewhere is going to say "I'm offended" and start a petition.
# 2: Fans of every team can be embarassing
# 3: Everyone is my equal and I am part of "white society" or , at least I like to think I am.
I don't think you can "force" anyone to do anything, they have to want to do it, for the better of all humans.
As far as the political thing, well that's politicians for ya! Seems, they might do more harm than good.

For #1 - I DO think there's a difference between naming a mascot after a tribe etc. ("Indians" isn't even racist...) it's that it's a name that has had a negative connotation. If a name hasn't had a negative connotation, I don't think there's a leg to stand on for people who want to cry "offensive". Has "Braves" ever been negative? A tribe name? "Fighting Irish?" no.

#2 - Absolutely. I don't think that was the point that was being made though. It's that it's acceptable to the general public for people to do these things; it's not even remotely discouraged in this case.

#3 I agree with you 100% about this...but I think that taking steps in the right direction in regards to educating people on how certain things about different culture is never a bad thing.

This is one of those things where I think nobody's going to change anybody else's mind. I just think people's focus is misdirected when it comes to who's complaining and why, though. Most of the comments I'm seeing (and I've even said!) are - why do the Senators care? They have more important things to worry about than the name of a football team. But when it comes down to the basis of the problem, I think it IS a problem. And I don't think just this is going to open any doors...those doors are already there and have been open forever. Some complaints are valid, some are not. I hear "it'll just open doors for..." when people argue against equal rights for gays, and I know people said it (I've seen signs in pics) when people fought against equal rights for women, and blacks. 

I just think if something legitimately is offensive to a group of people (not all natives feel the same - Debi knows a lot of people who were not offended, and I know more natives who are than I know who aren't,) but quite frankly that's always going to be the case when stuff like this comes along. I just feel like, if the offended have a legitimate reason to feel that way, maybe something needs to change.

Anyway...we all have our views on it, and we can agree to disagree. 

5/22/14   |   JenX63   |   33168 respect

Jess wrote:
I also think that some are getting tripped up by the fact that it's Senators making the request, and nobody likes the government.

Here are a few things I've seen that I thought made a great point:

(as a reply to someone commenting about the Braves, Seminoles, Blackhawks, etc. being used and okay) - "those are names of tribes and actual names that Native Americans used though...waaaay different than white people using a skin color to describe a whole different group of people"

"The name itself isn't offensive but the antics the fans do that degrade the Native American culture, seeing it as a joke rather than heritage" (changing the name would eventually fix that)

"white society sees native americans as a relic of the past,a mascot. Noble savages etc. Forcing white society to accept you and your unique world view as equals will begin the process of change."

as to your point #1: for now, they are OK. Once the door is open, someone, somewhere is going to say "I'm offended" and start a petition.
# 2: Fans of every team can be embarassing
# 3: Everyone is my equal and I am part of "white society" or , at least I like to think I am.
I don't think you can "force" anyone to do anything, they have to want to do it, for the better of all humans.
As far as the political thing, well that's politicians for ya! Seems, they might do more harm than good.

5/22/14   |   Jess   |   35098 respect

(Edited by Jess)

I also think that some are getting tripped up by the fact that it's Senators making the request, and nobody likes the government.

Here are a few things I've seen that I thought made a great point:

(as a reply to someone commenting about the Braves, Seminoles, Blackhawks, etc. being used and okay) - "those are names of tribes and actual names that Native Americans used though...waaaay different than white people using a skin color to describe a whole different group of people"

"The name itself isn't offensive but the antics the fans do that degrade the Native American culture, seeing it as a joke rather than heritage" (changing the name would eventually fix that)

"white society sees native americans as a relic of the past,a mascot. Noble savages etc. Forcing white society to accept you and your unique world view as equals will begin the process of change."

5/22/14   |   Jess   |   35098 respect

IMNSHO I think that the name is racist, and while there have been native people who it doesn't bother, there HAVE been a few native american tribal leaders who have come forward on behalf of their people saying that they find it offensive. Honestly, the word isn't that far off from some of the words that people would flip out about if they were used. If it's offensive to any group of people, it shouldn't be used as a national team name, regardless of how long it's been in the league. There are other words that were thrown around quite freely not so long ago either that aren't used now out of enlightenment, growth, and respect.

5/22/14   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

Jen, you said almost to the word what I would have written.  The only thing I will add is that I spent a number of years living on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago with an approximate 80/20 native to non-native population.  I was a fan of the Redskin back then and proud of it.  NOT ONE friend found the name, or my fandom of the team as offensive.  Those are only people whose opinions I care about, certainly not some pompous senators looking for re-election.

5/22/14   |   JenX63   |   33168 respect

(Edited by JenX63)

*sigh*
So, if I am to follow the thought thread here, I am "sorta" racist, because I don't find the name offensive? Who exactly are the US Senators that are offended? Are they of Native American descent? Is that question racist in that I am asking and I am not Native American? My question is: When is enough, enough? If the Redskins change their name. Will it open the flood gate for all other team names that are deemed "offensive"? Where does it all end? Snyder does a lot for the Native American communities. I hear nothing of them being offended. I haven't heard Snyder being accused of saying anything racist. Is it OK? Playing "devil's advocate" here. Is there a difference between Sterling and Snyder? I think so.  I don't like Snyder, never have, but I can't say with certainty that he is a closet racist just because he won't change the team name. How convenient for those US Senators that, that is a "hot topic" right now and an election year.