The offensive and outdated term “Redskins” should not be used at all, including as a nickname for a professional football team.
An effort in Congress has been launched to push the National Football League into forcing the Washington Redskins’ organization to change the name. And it might succeed because it is aimed at hitting the NFL where it will really hurts — its tax-exempt status.
Let’s face it, if Redskins were suggested as a moniker for any team today it would not be accepted?
So why does the owner of the team stubbornly refuse to change the name despite myriad requests from Native American tribal leaders and others to do so?
Pride and money are good guesses.
Team owner Daniel Snyder and the NFL power structure don’t want to concede they’ve been on the wrong side of a losing battle for many years. Changing the logo and re-branding the franchise would be expensive.
Well, the longer they hold out the more embarrassing and expensive it will be.
Washington state’s U.S. senator, Maria Cantwell, and Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell on Monday urging him to support changing the name Redskins because it’s offensive.
The NFL position against the change is indefensible, which could be why a spokesman for the Redskins organization attempts to deflect criticism by saying Congress has more important matters “such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care” than worrying about the name of an NFL team.
Can’t disagree. Those issues are more important. However, this name issue won’t be time consuming or expensive. It would go even faster if the NFL would stop fighting the name change.
Cantwell, a Democrat and chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee, and Cole, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, mentioned in their letter the NFL’s tax-exempt status as a nonprofit trade organization. The individual teams and their revenue are not tax exempt (nor should they be).
“The National Football League is on the wrong side of history,” the lawmakers wrote. “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.”
Cantell, in an interview with The New York Times on Sunday, said the tax-exempt status will be one of many ways to pressure the league.
“You’re getting a tax break for educational purposes,” Cantwell said, “but you’re still embracing a name that people see as a slur and encouraging it,”
She’s right. The Native American mascot should have been changed years ago, just as it has been at over 600 schools. If Snyder won’t remove Redskins then the NFL should make him. It’s time to do the right thing and move on.