WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With many taking Wednesday afternoon to applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for reaching such swift and decisive action in handling racial comments made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling, multiple members of Congress now wonder why the NFL hasn’t done the same with the name “Redskins.”
Included in that bunch are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who both spoke out against the controversial team name Wednesday afternoon.
“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 asked while giving a Senate speech.
“Mr. Snyder knows that in sports, the only tradition that matters is winning,” Reid later told the Washington Post. “So I urge Daniel Snyder to do what is morally right and remove this degrading term from the league by changing his team’s name.”
Following the theme of inclusion, Reid even suggested Snyder could invite Redskins fans — high school kids, even — to help him coin a replacement name.
“Don’t you think Daniel Snyder can come up with a name? It should be easy,” he said. “He could invite the fans to choose a name. He could ask high school kids to come up with a name.”
Holmes Norton, D.C.’s non-voting delegate in the House, later described to WNEW’s Rob Dawson why it was so easy for the NBA to take such quick action against Sterling, versus the years and years its taken Native Americans to build activism against the Redskins name.
“Native people often live apart from the general population,” she said. “Certainly not always, and are only two to three percent of the population, so it’s much more difficult for them to build pressure than it is for African Americans.”
Regarding NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell not taking action against Snyder for his team’s name, Norton said, “I don’t know why any team owner would want to keep that name, or why any league leader would want to do anything but request the name be changed.”
“That same racism is now hurting the National Football League, but Roger Goodell seems to be standing pat with Snyder,” she said.