LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell received a letter from 50 Senators urging the league to endorse a name change for the Washington Redskins, President Bruce Allen responded with his own letter to Senator Harry Reid on Friday.
In Allen’s letter to Sen. Reid, he offers a “few important facts” referencing some historical background as well as surveys conducted by the Associated Press and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of Pennsylvania.
“More than a decade ago one of the foremost scholars of Native American languages, Smithsonian Institution senior linguist Ives Goddard, spent seven months researching the subject and concluded that the word ‘redskin’ originated as a Native American expression of solidarity by multi-tribal delegations that traveled to Washington to negotiate Native American national policies,” Allen says.
Allen goes on to note that the Redskins logo was designed by Native American leaders in 1971 when his father, George Allen, was head coach.
“The highly respected Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania surveyed Native Americans nationally and reported that an overwhelming 90% of respondents said the name was not offensive,” Allen states in the letter. “More importantly, Native Americans continue to embrace and use the name and logo.”
In his final bullet point of “facts,” he refers to the national survey conducted by the Associated Press “confirming 83% of Americans said they are in favor of keeping the Washington Redskins name.”
Allen ends the letter by saying, “We hope you will join us; Native Americans deserve our support.”
Goodell has received a letter from 50 Senators urging the league to endorse a name change for the Redskins earlier this week.
“Today, we urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports,” the letter from the Senators reads. “It’s time for the NFL to endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C. football team.”
The letter from the 50 Senators came in the wake of the NBA’s decision to take action against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after he was caught on tape making racist remarks.
Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, did not sign the letter, but Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin did sign the letter.
The letter from Allen is also available by clicking here or by visiting Redskins.com.