A proposed name change for the NFL Washington Redskins' was dismissed by team owner Dan Snyder despite requests from Congress members
In a letter sent to Snyder on Tuesday, 10 members of Congress, including the co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus, urged the Redskins' owner to change the "derogatory" team name, comparing it to other offensive racial terms once used to describe ethnic minorities.
"Native Americans throughout the country consider the ‘R-word’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos," the letter to Snyder read. "Such offensive epithets would no doubt draw wide-spread disapproval among the NFL’s fan base. Yet the national coverage of Washington’s NFL football team profits from a term that is equally disparaging to Native Americans.”
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Earlier in May, Snyder dismissed the suggestion that he should change the name of his team.
"We will never change the name of the team
," Snyder told USA TODAY Sports. "As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season."
In addition to the protest letter from the ten Congress members, there is also legislation, proposed by Eni F.H. Faleomavaega of American Samoa, which would specifically cancel any trademark registrations using the word "redskins."
If the Redskins were to lose their trademark for the team, it would cost the franchise a significant amount of money
as well as the National Football League at large, the Atlantic Wire notes.
As a result of losing its trademark protection, anyone could subsequently sell the Redskins' paraphernalia without repercussion.
When asked if losing a federal trademark lawsuit would cause him to change his mind and alter the team's name, Snyder remained consistent.
"We'll never change the name," he told USA Today. "It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."
A recent Associated Press poll found that 79 percent of Americans feel the Redskins should keep their team name.
In addition to Snyder, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is one of the nearly four out of five Americans who feel the Redskins should not change their name.
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"Growing up in Washington, I do understand the affinity for that name with the fans," Goodell told ESPN in February. "I also understand the other side of that."
"I don't think anybody wants to offend anybody. But this has been discussed over a long period of time," Goodell added. "I think Dan Snyder and the organization have made it very clear that they are proud of that name and that heritage, and I think the fans are, too."
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