Our government, having made sure that there are no pressing matters needing national attention, and the country has more than enough jobs, our economy is booming and once again we are a global power with no issue what-so-ever-
What? None of that is true?
Ok, so lets talk about something that has two members of Congress finally agree to something in the spirit of bipartisanship.
Yup. We have two members of Congress that have launched a letter to the Commish, urging them to try and change the name of the Redskins. They are prepared to go after the NFL’s Tax-Exempt status.
Number 1. The NFL should not have Tax-Exempt status to begin with.
Number 2. So apparently we are going to punish the Panthers, Giants and the like of one team doesn’t become PC?
Of course the Redskins are not happy about this pressure, they have stated they have gotten thousands of letters in support, and there was a poll in 2004 saying 90 percent of Native Americans didn’t have a problem with it. Congressman Cantwell (a member of the Chickasaw Nation) says thats “decade-old public opinion polling”. Interesting, since thats how Congress runs the country.
Furthermore, a bill has been introduced in Congress to remove all trademark protection covering the name Redskin. Now if you want to force a name change, opening up a team’s merchandise so anyone can make it and the team won’t make a dime off of it, will do it.
The Redskins response? Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said in a statement, “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? And given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means ‘Red People’ in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic.”
That is kind of an interesting point. Think of all the team names that are taken from Indian tribes,heck think of all the cities and towns named after them, not to mention rivers and other items. There are TWENTY-SIX states with Indian Names or derivatives.
Incase you were wondering, here is the text of the letter the Congresspeople sent to the Commish:
COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
WASHINGTON, or: 20510 6450
February 10, 2014
Dear Commissioner Goodell:
We are writing to express our disappointment with the National Football League’s stance on the
name of the Washington football team. We also wish to register our objections to your pre-Super
Bowl press conference on January 31, 2014, at which you defended the Washington team name
as an “honor” to Native Americans. It is, in fact, an insult to Native Americans. We are calling
on you and the National Football League to take a formal position in support of a name change.
You have met with leaders of the National Congress of American Indians, an organization that
represents more than 250 tribes and millions of Native Americans. They aggressively support a
name change as they find the Washington football name to be racially offensive. (Link to study)
For you to pretend that the name is defensible based on decade-old public opinion polling flies in
the face of our constitutionally protected government-to-government relationship with tribes.
The National Congress of American Indians represents tribal governments that fulfill the
government-to-government relationship with the United States government. This relationship is
protected in our Constitution. Saying the Washington football team “honored Native Americans”
perpetuates a charade that dishonors Native people and their governments and erodes the
reputation of the National Football League. We believe that the fact that this term does not honor
— but rather disparages — Indian people and tribes is what will and should guide federal
The terminology used by the Washington football team has been determined to be a slur. On
December 29, 2013, the Patent and Trademark Office, the agency charged with determining
whether a word is a slur and can be protected in commerce, determined that this term is a
“derogatory slang” term that refers to and is considered offensive to American Indians in a case
of a business venture seeking to trademark the term.
In 1999, the Patent and Trademark Office refused to register the Washington football team’s
trademark because the agency found the term disparaged Indian people. Neither the league nor
the team should take comfort behind a technicality that prevented the agency’s decision from
being enforced. The Patent and Trademark Office is soon to act on a new case directly tied to the
team’s trademark, brought by several young Indian people.
The National Football League can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as
anything but what it is: a racial slur. It is clear that you haven’t heard the leading voices of this
country — and not just Indian Country. Virtually every major civil rights organization in America
has spoken out in opposition to this name including the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League,
the Rainbow Coalition and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
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. It is time for the National Football League to formally
support and push for a name change for the Washington football team.
Maria Cantwell – United States Senator
Tom Cole – Member of Congress
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