Lifestyle & Belief

Redskins logo 'derogatory,' Congress members tell owner Dan Snyder


Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder looks on before a game against the New York Giants at FedEx Field on December 3, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.


Patrick McDermott

Political pressure in mounting on Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

A month after city councilors petitioned the NFL team’s owner about abandoning his “racist” logo and nickname, 10 members of Congress have joined the fray.

They sent letters urging change to Snyder, NFL commissioner Roger Goddell, the team’s stadium sponsor, FedEx, and the other 31 NFL teams.

According to the Associated Press, the letter says “Native Americans throughout the country consider the ‘R-word’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word among Latinos.”

Among those who signed the letter are Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who co-chair the Congressional Native American Caucus.

Their letter also said the term reminds many of a violent era in US history, the Native American Times reported.

The Congress members tell Snyder in their letter about Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis, who said Redskin is a reminder of “genocide” in Colonial America.

It’s “‘not just a racial slur or a derogatory term,’ but a painful ‘reminder of one of the most gruesome acts of … ethnic cleansing ever committed against the Penobscot people.’ The hunting and killing of Penobscot Indians like animals, as declared by Chief Francis, was ‘a most despicable and disgraceful act of genocide.”’

Snyder, according to the AP, has said he will never change the name.

In March, a group of Native Americans launched a lawsuit saying the NFL team should lose its trademark rights.

The group cited the 1946 Trademark Act that prohibits trademarks “which may disparage … persons, living or dead.”

CBS in Washington said the matter could take years to resolve in the courts.

A similar case launched in 1992 required 17 years before the Supreme Court failed to deliver a verdict.

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