Late last month, 10 member of Congress’ Native American Caucus sent letters to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, urging him to take action to force the Washington Redskins to change their name. They argued that the word “redskin” is flatly a racial slur, and has no place in a modern society.
One June 5, Goodell responded to them, calling the perceived slur “a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”
Goodell’s letter is largely a retread of many of the arguments those in favor of keeping the name have peddled before. He cites the team’s former coach, William Dietz, as the source of the name, saying the team took on the moniker to honor him (Dietz claimed to be a Native American, although that has been disputed). Goodell even included Redskins.com interviews with two Native American chiefs who claim not to be offended by the name.
Members of the Native American Caucus, however, were not so impressed by Goodell’s words. Congresswoman Betty McCollum even relea...