The Washington Redskins have launched a defiant attack on Sen. Maria Cantwell after she called on the NFL team to change its controversial name, which she calls an "insult" to American Indians.
Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, joined forces with Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma in a bipartisan letter
to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, accusing him of being on the "wrong side of history" by letting the Redskins keep their name.
But now the team has hit back
at Cantwell, who chairs the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, with a statement declaring that there are more important problems facing American Indians than changing a football team’s moniker, according to Fox News.
"Sen. Cantwell should be aware that there are many challenges facing Native Americans, including an extremely cold winter with high energy bills, high unemployment, life-threatening health problems, inadequate education and many other issues more pressing than the name of a football team which has received strong support from Native Americans," the team said.
"Surely, with all the issues Congress is supposed to work on, such as the economy, jobs, war and healthcare, the senator must have more important things to do."
Although Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed that as long as he owns the team the name will not change, a spokesman for the NFL revealed that the league planned to study proposals for a name change.
The spokesman said the NFL would reply to the letter from Cole and Cantwell "in an appropriate manner" after an extensive review.
But in the past, Goodell has been reluctant to change what NBC’s Winter Olympics commentator Bob Costas has called "an insult, a slur" on American Indians, Fox News reports.
However, during Super Bowl week, Goodell admitted that eight out of 10 Americans do not want a name change.
"So, we are listening," he said. "We are being respectful to people who disagree. But let's not forget this is the name of a football team."
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