Congresswoman Blasts Redskins for Refusing to Change Name

Congresswoman Blasts Redskins for Refusing to Change Name

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has implied Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is a hypocrite for refusing to change the team’s nickname. Noting that Snyder, who is Jewish, has blasted the Washington City Paper over articles critical of him, one even including a photograph of him that had horns and a goatee scribbled over it, Norton said:

The centerpiece of his suit was a photo that he said disparaged him as a Jew. So here is a man who has shown sensibilities based on his own ethnic identity who refuses to recognize the sensibilities of American Indians. This is not about the First Amendment. This is about branding — whether you can brand, you can use a brand that disparages an ethnic group.

A bipartisan group from the House, including Democratic Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, of American Samoa, and GOP Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), a member of the Chickasaw Nation, has written Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell requesting the team’s nickname be changed. They wrote:

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. 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.

Snyder was adamant, saying, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. Never — you can use caps.”

Norton had a suggestion: change the name from “Redskins” to “Redtails.” Noting that was a reference to the Tuskegee Airmen, she added, “A much revered name.” She asserted that she wasn’t surprised by resistance to a change in the team’s name: “I’m not surprised that most Americans don’t see any harm in the word. Most of us have had to be educated by Native Americans, who after all are only less than 2 percent of the population. They don’t exactly have a microphone every day. With African-Americans, you know all about it.”

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