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Congress Members Push Defiant Redskins Owner to Change Team Name

WI Web Staff | 5/29/2013, 1 p.m.
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder

Ten members of Congress recently sent a letter to Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team's name, the latest attempt in a lengthy battle to remove what some consider a racial slur to American Indians.

The representatives, including Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Betty McCollum, D-Minn., co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus, and Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, who represents the American Samoa, also sent similar letters to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the CEO of FedEx, which owns the naming rights to the team's Largo, Md., stadium.

Though Snyder has adamantly refused to consider changing the name, which the franchise has used since 1933 when it played in Boston, the letter to the owner, released Tuesday, charged that he has a "moral responsibility" to do so.

“Native Americans throughout the country consider the ‘R-word’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the 'N-word' among African Americans or the 'W-word' among Latinos," the letter stated. "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.”

In March, Faleomavaega, Cole and McCollum also teamed with several other representatives, including D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, to introduce a bill barring the trademark of "redskin" and all other terms deemed disparaging.