Oklahoma Congressman: Washington Redskins On 'Wrong Side Of History'


Tuesday, February 11th 2014, 2:40 pm
By: News On 6


The latest back-and-forth over the Washington Redskins name includes a stern letter from two lawmakers and a new "community voices" campaign from the team.

A letter sent Monday from Congressman Tom Cole [R-Oklahoma] and Senator Maria Cantwell [D-Washington], tells NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that the league is on "the wrong side of history" and mentions the league's tax-exempt status.

Cantwell chairs the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.  Cole is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

The lawmakers specifically objected to Goodell's Super Bowl week news conference, when he said the Redskins name has been "presented in a way that honors Native Americans."

"It is, in fact, an insult to Native Americans," the letter states.

Read Cole, Cantwell's letter to NFL

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league will respond to the letter "in an appropriate manner" once it has been reviewed.

Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie responded to the letter with an email statement, saying: "With all the important issues Congress has to deal with, such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care, don't they have more important issues to worry about than a football team's name?"

The Redskins also countered by saying they've received "almost 200" letters and emails in recent months in support of the name from people who identified themselves as Native Americans or as family members of Native Americans.

They say they've received only seven letters from Native Americans opposed to the name. The team released excerpts from the letters and called them "community voices."

"We should not turn our back on these Native Americans," the team's statement said. "Their voices deserve to be heard."