Top U.S. senator seeks Washington 'Redskins' name change

Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:46pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on the NFL on Wednesday to follow the NBA's lead and crack down on racism by forcing the Washington Redskins to change a name considered racially offensive by many.

A day after the National Basketball Association imposed a lifetime ban on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for bigoted remarks, Reid called on the NFL to make Redskins owner Daniel Snyder relent to decades of criticism and come up with a new team moniker.

"I with almost all of America applaud the NBA's work to swiftly stamp out bigotry in its ranks," said Reid, a Nevada Democrat who has 22 tribal organizations in his state.

"I wonder today," Reid added, standing in the Senate, if "the NFL, that money-making machine," took notice of the NBA's actions.

"How long will the NFL continue to do nothing, zero, as one of its teams bears a name that inflicts so much pain on Native Americans," Reid said.

The word "redskins" is often defined as a racial slur.

But since 1937, it has been the name of Washington's American football team, which has a history of bigotry, dating back to being one of the last teams in the 1960s to sign a black player.

Over the years, there have been repeated calls for the team to change its name. But Snyder has refused, saying he sees the name as a salute to Native Americans, not a slur against them.

Besides, Snyder has said, it's part of Washington's tradition.   Continued...

U.S.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pauses before speaking to members of the media ahead of the Senate vote on renewing unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, on Capitol Hill in Washington February 6, 2014.    REUTERS/Larry Downing