Two members of Congress, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) sent a letter to Roger Goodell regarding the Washington Redskins name.
Cantwell and Cole wanted Goodell and the NFL "to take a formal position in support of a name change."
Redskins spokesman Tony Wylllie responded with a written statement to the Washington Post:
“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? And given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means ‘Red People’ in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic.”
It is ballsy.
"As the former Chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Cantwell should be aware that there are many challenges facing Native Americans, including an extremely cold winter with high energy bills, high unemployment, life threatening health problems, inadequate education and many other issues more pressing than the name of a football team which has received strong support from Native Americans.
If the Senator wants us to change our team name, has she already told that to the team named ‘Redskins’ in Wellpinit, Wash., where the school’s population is more than 90 percent Native American? We hope Senator Cantwell has visited with those students in order to hear their thoughts. We hope Senator Cantwell is aware how upset the students in Port Townsend were when they were forced to change their name.
In an ESPN report on Sept. 18, 2013, Tim Ames, the superintendent of Wellpinit schools stated, ‘I've talked to our students, our parents and our community about this and nobody finds any offense at all in it. Redskins is not an insult to our kids. 'Wagon burners' is an insult. 'Prairie n-----s' is an insult. Those are very upsetting to our kids. But ‘Redskins’ is an honorable name we wear with pride… In fact, I'd like to see somebody come up here and try to change it.’
Finally, why did Senator Cantwell send her letter to the New York Times before she had the courtesy of sending it to the NFL? No one other than a politician does that.
Surely, with all the issues Congress is supposed to work on such as the economy, jobs, war and health care, the Senator must have more important things to do.”
That's pretty hardcore.
It is important to note that the "ESPN report" cited in the statement is actually from a column by Rick Reilly. We're also wondering why the statement does not include any mention of Congressman Cole.