WASHINGTON, June 17 (UPI) -- Nevada Senator Harry Reid has declined a formal invitation to attend a Washington Redskins game, saying he won't support the team until they change their name.
In a letter to Redskins president Bruce Allen, Reid called the issue of the controversial team name "personal," and promised he will "not stand idly by while a professional sports team promotes a racial slur as a team name and disparages the American people."
"Nor will I consider your invitation to attend a home game until your organization chooses to do the right thing and change its offensive name."
In May, 49 U.S. senators signed a letter urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to force the Redskins to play under another name, something team owner Dan Snyder repeatedly promised will never happen during his tenure. Allen responded by inviting Reid -- who has become the political face of efforts to change the name -- to join him for a Redskins game, claiming the team name was "respectful."
Reid's full response to Allen is below:
"I received your letter and invitation to attend a Washington, D.C. football team event.
"During my time in the United States Senate, I have worked to right many of the injustices endured by Americans throughout the country. Among the most egregious in the history of our country are those injustices inflicted upon American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. This is personal for me. I represent 27 tribes as the Senator from Nevada and have worked to protect their homelands and their sovereignty. I have a duty to ensure that the United States uphold centuries-old treaty and trust obligations towards Native Americans, and I take this responsibility very seriously.
"I will not stand idly by while a professional sports team promotes a racial slur as a team name and disparages the American people. Nor will I consider your invitation to attend a home game until your organization chooses to do the right thing and change its offensive name."