Congressional bill aims to get NFL to change the name 'Redskins'

Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:45pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The District of Columbia's non-voting congressional delegate introduced a bill on Thursday to strip the NFL of its federal antitrust protection as long as it allows Washington's football team to use the name "Redskins," a moniker some see as racist.

Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton said the National Football League and Washington's football team "should not be benefiting financially from federal antitrust exemptions while they continue to promote a disparaging moniker that has been found by legal authorities to be a racial slur."

A federal judge in July upheld a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the name was "disparaging to Native Americans" and thus ineligible for federal trademark registration.

Norton said in a statement: "The name of the nation’s capital, Washington, should always be associated with pride, not with a moniker that mocks and insults Native Americans."

Calling the name an "embarrassment to the league and to the country," Norton said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s team owners needed to "get on the right side of the law and of history and change the name."

The owner of the Redskins, Daniel Snyder, has said the name shows respect to Native Americans and that he will not change it under any circumstances.

"We disagree with Ms. Norton’s opposition to the Washington Redskins name," a Redskins spokesman told Reuters via e-mail. "More than 85 percent of Ms. Norton's constituents disagree as well, as recent polls have shown."

The NFL did not respond to a request for comment on the bill, which faces an uphill climb in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.   Continued...

Sep 3, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy (16) throws the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports