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Fifty senators sign a letter asking NFL to change Redskins name

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Half the U.S. Senate wants the Redskins to change their name. (USATSI)
Half the U.S. Senate wants the Redskins to change their name. (USATSI)

It's become quite clear that the politicians in Washington want the Redskins to change their name. President Obama said last October that he would think about changing the name if he owned the team, and two months ago, Harry Reid -- the Senate's majority leader -- predicted the team would alter their name within the next three years.

Now, the Senate is throwing some serious muscle behind the attempt to convince the team to change, as the NY Times reports that 50 senators have signed a letter to the NFL asking the league to do so.

“The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” said the letter. "... “We urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the N.B.A. did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports."

The letter, the Times writes, was circulated by Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell and was endorsed by Reid. The letter was not circulated among the Republicans.

Cantwell referred to the NBA's quick action against Clippers owner Donald Sterling after he was caught on audio tape using racial slurs and, soon after, was basically kicked out of the league.

All along, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has declared that he won't change the name.

“The intent of the team's name has always been to present a strong, positive and respectful image,” the league said in a statement. “The name is not used by the team or the NFL in any other context, though we respect those that view it differently.”

Meanwhile, Snyder created a foundation earlier this year that, in Snyder's words, will "provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities."

Reid responded to that March announcement thusly.

“Dan Snyder, he's got a great new deal,” Reid said. “He's going to throw a few blankets to the Indians and get a tax deduction for it. I can't imagine why the man doesn't realize that the name is going to change. It's only a question of when it's going to change. That's the only question.”

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