Time for the Washington Redskins to get a new name?

By MPR News intern Aidan Arnold

Both senators in Maryland — where the Washington Redskins play — signed on to a letter urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to get the team to change its name. AP

Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are among 49 Democratic and independent U.S. senators who signed a letter urging NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to endorse a name change for the Washington Redskins.

They hope to build on momentum following NBA action against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for making racist comments in a taped private conversation.

“It’s already too late for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to act with the dispatch of the NBA commissioner,” writes NPR’s Frank James. “Goodell has defended the Redskins name, saying it was meant to honor Native Americans. Indian groups and many non-Native Americans aren’t buying that.”

Though no Republicans signed Cantwell’s [Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash] letter by the time it became public, some GOP lawmakers have agreed that Washington’s NFL team should change its name.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for instance, has suggested as much. On the House side, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., an enrolled member of the Chickasaw tribe, has also called for the name to be changed. Cole signed an earlier letter with Cantwell that suggested that the use of a racial slur was inconsistent with the NFL’s status as a tax-exempt organization under IRS rules. You could read that as a shot across the bow.

Today’s Question: Is it time for the Washington Redskins to get a new name?