On Friday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called on Congress to have a hearing on the “offensive” and “derogatory” Redskins name.
In a letter to Committee Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Waxman, who will retire when his current term ends, suggested that the NFL is worse than the NBA, which banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life after he was caught on a recording telling V. Stiviano not to bring “black people” to his games.
Waxman wrote that, “in the case of the Washington football team, the offensive conduct is public, not private. But it is being condoned and defended by National Football League.” Waxman also said that Congressional hearings could be a catalyst to change the Redskins name just like the federal government pressured the team to be the last football team to integrate.
He also suggested that Washington’s nickname was akin to Sterling’s racist remarks.
“Unlike NBA commissioner (Adam) Silver, the commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, has publicly defended the owner,” Waxman wrote. “In fact, he stated in a letter that ‘the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.'”
Waxman also cited Republican columnist Charles Krauthammer, who wrote that the Redskins name carries “invidious connotations” today and should be changed.
Other Democrats — like Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) — have used the Sterling scandal to call on the Redskins to change their name even though owner Dan Snyder has said he never would. Reid has even said he believes the team will change the name within three years.