The Redskins: Lawmakers pressure owner to change the team name

Washington Redskins helmets
Washington Redskins helmets
Doug Pensinger/Allsport via Getty Images

A group of nine Democratic House lawmakers and one Republican sent a letter on Tuesday to Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, urging them to change what they feel is a “derogatory, demeaning, and offensive” team name.

“Native Americans throughout the country consider the term ‘redskin’ a racial, derogatory slur akin the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos,” read the letter. “Such offensive epithets would no doubt draw wide-spread 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.”

The group of lawmakers who signed the letter is the same that introduced a bill in March designed to block companies from trademarking the term “redskin” in reference to Native Americans. There is no indication that the legislation will ever see the light of day in the House.

Snyder, the Redskin’s owner, told USA Today earlier this month that he “will never change the name of the team.”

“It’s that simple,” said Snyder. “NEVER–you can use caps.”

Forbes rates the Washington Redskins as one of the top five sports franchises in the world, with a net worth of nearly $1.6 billion. The blog Psych Central speculates that Snyder could be worried a name change would cost him a lot of money in fan recognition around the world.