Taking note of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) quick response to derogatory remarks against African Americans made by Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the National Football League (NFL) should take a similar stand against the name of the Washington Redskins, which some native Americans find offensive.
In remarks made on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid said that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had “Set the standard for how professional sports associations should act in the face of racism” when dealing with Sterling. The Nevada Democrat then wondered: “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?” USA TODAY notes.
Efforts to force a Redskins name change have so far failed to persuade team owner Daniel Snyder to adopt a new team name. Snyder has argued that the Redskins name is a tradition. Harry Reid sneered at the idea. “Tradition? What tradition? A tradition of racism is all that name leaves in its wake,” the senator said.
Harry Reid called on Snyder to “do what is morally right” and change the Redskins name. He added that the was precedent for such a move, citing the Washington Wizards, who were formerly known as the Washington Bullets. The team’s owner changed the name to disassociate the team from gun violence. Harry Reid said that if Snyder was unwilling to effect a Redskins name change, the NFL should step in a force him to do so.
The comments drew applause from the National Congress of American Indians.
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