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U.S. Senators Join "Redskins" Team Name Debate

A pair of lawmakers plan on writing a strongly worded letter to Roger Goodell urging him to change his stance

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U.S. Sens Join Redskins Name Debate

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A pair of U.S. Senators have stepped into the ever-heating debate over the Washington Redskins’ team name.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who serves as the chair of the Indian Affairs Committee and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) are reportedly planning on sending commissioner  Roger Goodell, urging him to take a more proactive stance where the potential name-change is concerned.

The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” Ms. Cantwell and Mr. Cole wrote, per the New York Times. “The National Football League is on the wrong side of history. It is not appropriate for this multibillion-dollar 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization to perpetuate and profit from the continued degradation of tribes and Indian people.”

In a move aimed at stepping up the pressure on Goodell, Cantwell said over the weekend that lawmakers would “definitely” review the league’s tax exempt status.

The league has said they won’t comment on the letter before they actually receive it. Tom Wylie, a Redskins spokesman, was not so reticent.

“With all the important issues Congress has to deal with, such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care, don’t they have more important issues to worry about than a football team’s name?” Wyllie wrote in an email. “And given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means ‘red people’ in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic.”

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