Sen. Cantwell’s push to force NFL to rename Redskins is right

The term ‘Redskins’ is used in a disparaging way and its continued use is offensive.


The offensive and outdated term “Redskins” should not be used at all, including as a nickname for a professional football team.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.


namvet60 1 year, 6 months ago

The Washington Redskins have been around since 1937. I would say that they have a name that is grandfathered in to the history books. According to the polls there just a few that oppose the name Redskins even by the American Indians. Why doesn't the government try to work on important problems like the economy, jobs and bringing this country back to a thriving nation?


leterbuck 1 year, 6 months ago

@ Namvet...Exactly!!! $16 trillion debt and they are worried about an NFL teams name?? And, it's a bit hypocrytical that Cantwell is Chair of the "Indian Affairs" committee. Last I knew, the pc term was Native American.


chicoli 1 year, 6 months ago

Why we tax payers have to subsidize millions to the Redskins owners? As we all know the NFL is a multibillion dollar business, a lot of it subsidized with our money. I will just love to hit them where it really hurts, their bank accounts! Let's remove their tax exempt status...and they can keep their name, if they so desire!


carcrazy 1 year, 6 months ago

This is one point I will agree with you on. They should not be tax exempt.


barracuda 1 year, 6 months ago

Your right Paco...Get rid of the tax exempt status...


PearlY 1 year, 6 months ago

The name carries negative connotations now that the politically correct term is Native American, but who knows what it connoted at the time the team was named: you don't usually name yourself or something you admire with an insult.

But how is that the Federal Government's business? And if the NFL meets the statutory criteria for tax exemption, how is it lawful for a US Senator to use the threat of removing that exemption just because some Federal officials don't like the name of one of your teams? We've had enough of the IRS being used for political purposes. Richard Nixon could have learned more than a few tricks from the Democrats currently in the Administration and Congress. He at least had the self-awareness and knowledge of right and wrong to try to keep his "enemies list" a secret.

I'm with Paco, though. Let's remove tax-exempt status from ALL these supposedly "do-gooder" organizations. Let's tax trade organizations, labor unions, universities, charitable foundations, opera companies, etc. It would do their leaders good to learn how to cope with the burdens of taxation in managing their businesses, and save the government millions of dollars in bureaucracy to keep track of them.


stvsngltn 1 year, 6 months ago

I disagree with the editorial as well. The 'Skins name is used as a term of endearment by it's fans and others. There's nothing derogatory about the name unless someone oversensitive in the PC realm is too (pardon the pun) thin-skinned. Hey, I have some Mohawk blood through my biological mother's line (confirmed via DNA testing) and I'm proud of it -- and certainly have no problem with team names be they Redskins, Warriors, Braves, or Palefaces. On the tax issue, I agree with Paco and Pearl .... remove tax exempt status ... and I would even include huge "mega-church" religious organizations over a certain size (excluding small churches).


wallyworldguy 1 year, 6 months ago

Cantwell, yeah, with all that's going on in this country and this state you are worried about a name bothering some one. time to put on your big girl panties and do something to earn your keep. Worthless Dems!!!!!!


blommer 1 year, 6 months ago

Senator Cantwell is yet another case of liberals wanting to control thoughts of others. Try focusing on the important issues facing our country. Focus on investigating who is responsible for letting 4 brave Americans be butchered in Benghazi.


chicoli 1 year, 6 months ago

Oh, you don't know how much we democrats wish for conservatives to run on the Benghazi thing for the next elections! Why don't you guys add issues such as minimum wage, immigration reform and others?

This Benghazi tragedy was already litigated, and investigated to the end. It is done! Ask your leaders for crying out loud!


namvet60 1 year, 6 months ago

paco - you have voiced concern about honest citizens carrying concealed weapons but you turn a blind eye to 4 slaughtered, tortured Americans losing there lives to terrorists.

You are a disgrace to every veteran in the US of A and a very pathetic human being.

Every one of these scandals that this President brought on himself with his corrupt staff have not been finalized and every one of them are still under investigation.

Maybe you should look in a mirror and recite your oath of enlistment again and try and realize where you have gone astray!


pdywgn 1 year, 6 months ago

I checked with my leaders and Benghazi is still under investigation. It was updated in The Library of Congress on Friday.


Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in