Washington GM to Harry Reid: Redskins 'Unifying Force' in Divided City

Washington GM to Harry Reid: Redskins 'Unifying Force' in Divided City

On Friday, Redskins general manager Bruce Allen responded to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) crusade against what he said is the team’s name by saying the Redskins are a “positive, unifying force for our community in a city and region that is divide on so many levels.”

In a letter to Reid, Allen wrote that the Redskins originated as a Native American expression of solidarity and the logo was designed by a Native American and approved by Native American leaders. He also cited an Annenberg Public Policy Center poll that indicated Native Americans were not offended by the name and an Associated Press poll that found 83% of Americans wanted the team to keep its name.

Allen said he felt compelled to respond after reading Reid’s comments to the New York Times about the team’s “offensive” name and a letter signed by 50 senators on Wednesday urging the NFL that the “time to act is now” on a Redskins name change.

“Today, we urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports,” they wrote, invoking Donald Sterling’s racism. “It’s time for the NFL to endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C. football team.” 

Reid, who has also predicted that the Redskins would change their name within three years, said tribal organizations in Nevada have told him the team’s name is offensive.

“I have 22 tribal organizations in Nevada,” Reid told the New York Times. “They are not mascots. They are human beings. And this term Redskins is offensive to them.”

Allen urged Reid to “attend one of our home games,” where he would witness how much the team unifies the city and region that is so polarized.