Half of the U.S. Senate calls for Redskins to change name

So once again, racism and sports are bedfellows. But is it worth a name change? And will one happen?

Ray Halbritter, a senior leader of the Oneida Indian Nation in New York state, speaks at a symposium in Washington, DC back on October 7, 2013 in favor of changing the name of the US capital's beloved American football team, the Redskins, a word many regard as a racial slur. Credit: Getty Images Ray Halbritter, a senior leader of the Oneida Indian Nation in New York state, speaks at a symposium in Washington, DC back on October 7, 2013 in favor of changing the name of the US capital's beloved American football team, the Redskins, a word many regard as a racial slur. Credit: Getty Images

 

I guess Donald Sterling's racism must have really had an effect on his peers, the rich fellows in the United States Senate, as fifty of them signed a letter that in no uncertain language demands that the Washington Redskins of the NFL explore changing their offensive and racist name.

 

"Today we urge you and the National Football League," the letter states, "to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports. It's time for the NFL to endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C. football team."

 

The letter is signed by mostly democratic senators, and goes on to make more points about the offensiveness of the name (never explicitly using it) to Native Americans.

 

So once again, racism and sports are bedfellows. But is it worth a name change? And will one happen?

The Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves have Native American related names, but both teams have taken a much less offensive approach in recent years.

Though the Redskins don't particularly flaunt the racism of their name, it is clearly a remnant of another time.

Beloved Redskins fans. Credit: Getty Images Beloved Redskins fans support their team as well as it's racist name. Credit: Getty Images

The NFL defended it's NFC East combatant:

"The intent of the team's name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image. The name is not used by the team or the N.F.L. in any other context, though we respect those that view it differently."

The Skins' owner Dan Snyder has been adamant that the name honors Native Americans and is not offensive. He has no intention of changing it.

So will Roger Goodell pull an Adam Silver and intervene to stop racism?Or will this issue simply dissipate like it always seems to?

The Clippers, mostly African American, as well as the entire NBA threatened to take action in the Sterling controversy. One can't help but wonder if there were more Native Americans in the NFL if this name would still be around.

Follow Metro Philadelphia Sports Editor Evan Macy on Twitter @Evan_Macy

 
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