NFL Commissioner Defends Redskins Name: It's 'a Unifying Force'

Responding to the growing clamor from Members of Congress, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a strong defense of the Redskins nickname on Wednesday.

In a letter to the ten Congressmen that had demanded a repudiation of Washington's historic name, Goodell declared that the name was  a unifying force that stands for "strength, courage, pride and respect."

He went on to say  that the name "from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context" and was never "meant to denigrate Native Americans or offend any group."

"The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context," Goodell wrote in the letter. "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."

Congressman Betty McCollum, one of the ten and also the co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, called the commissioner's letter "a statement of absurdity." Likewise, Delegate Eni Faleomavaega said that "Goodell has completely missed the point. … It is time for the NFL to stop making excuses for itself and fully embrace its so-called commitment to diversity."

In contrast to the ad-homonym attacks of the aforementioned Democrats, Goodell was respectful and presented an argument based on polling information, legal rulings, and the opinions of some Native Americans.


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