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NFL commissioner defends Redskins name

By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   June 12, 2013 at 3:41 PM   |   Comments

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June 12 (UPI) -- Ten congressmen have written to the Washington Redskins' owner Dan Snyder pleading for him to change the team's controversial name.

He won't budge, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell joined his side in a letter to Congressreleased Tuesday.

Goodell defends the Redskins name, saying that it represents "a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."

The letter was released by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum and Delegate Eni Faleomavaega, both of whom criticized Goodell's stance in a statement.

The statement called Goodell's statement a "statement of absurdity."

"Goodell has completely missed the point," Faleomavaega said. "It is time for the NFL to stop making excuses for itself and fully embrace its so-called commitment to diversity."

Goodell was reponding to a May 13 letter in which 10 members of Congress asked him to "take a stand against the use of the word 'redskin.'"

"Goodell's letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of Dan Snyder and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning ever larger profits, even if it means exploiting a racist stereotype of Native Americans," McCollum wrote.

The letter cited a poll showing that the majority of Americans are not offended by the term. But, as McCollum points out, Native Americans are not the majority.

"Would Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder actually travel to a Native American community and greet a group of tribal leaders by saying, 'Hey, what's up redskin?' I think not."

Follow @cmlee and @UPI on Twitter.
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