Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), pontificated Tuesday about the ethics of the NFL punishing the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady for Deflategate while ignoring the nickname of the Washington Redskins.
Reid apparently felt that the Redskins’ nickname represented an urgent matter, opening his remarks on the Senate floor by saying, “Yesterday, the National Football League punished one of its most recognizable players, [for] having tampered with game balls. I find it stunning that the National Football League is more concerned about how much air is in a football than with a racist franchise name that denigrates Native Americans across the country. The Redskins name is a racist name. So I wish the commissioner would act as swiftly and decisively in changing the name of the D.C. team as he did about not enough air in a football.”
Reid doubled down on his message via Twitter:
I find it stunning that the NFL cares more about how much air is in a football than it cares about a racist franchise name.
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) May 12, 2015
Last May, Reid joined other Democratic senators who signed a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell encouraging him to change the Redskins’ nickname. In June 2014, he publicly stated that he would refuse to attend Redskins home games until their name was changed. He vowed to “not stand idly by while a professional sports team promotes a racial slur as a team name and disparages the American people.”
Earlier this month, Goodell, appearing at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, defended the Redskins’s name, saying, “It’s the name of a football team. I grew up as a Washington Redskins fan. I always looked at that as something we were proud of. In that context, it’s not being used as a racial slur.”
On Monday, the NFL announced it would suspend Brady without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season, fine the Patriots $1 million, and take away two draft picks from the team as a result of Deflategate.