72°F
weather icon Clear

Reid calls for NFL chief to force change in Redskins team name

WASHINGTON — Sen. Harry Reid on Wednesday renewed pressure on the Washington Redskins to change its name to anything not offensive to Native Americans, and began to apply it to the commissioner of the National Football League as well.

Reid, the Senate majority leader from Nevada, said he applauded Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association who on Tuesday imposed a lifetime ban on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racial comments that shook the league.

“I wonder today if the leadership of the National Football League, the NFL, if they have taken notice?” Reid said in a Senate speech. “How long will the NFL continue to do nothing, zero, as one of its teams bears a name that inflicts so much pain on Native Americans?”

Reid several times has blasted Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who says the team name reflects its tradition and he would not change it. This time, he expanded his criticism to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for inaction on the matter.

“For far too long the NFL has been sitting on its hands doing nothing while an entire population of Americans has been denigrated,” Reid said. “I believe Roger Goodell is a good man but it’s time for this good man to act.”

Snyder has resisted calls from tribal groups and various public officials for a name change. In March he announced he was starting a foundation to benefit Native Americans, after saying he and his staff visited 26 tribal reservations in 20 states.

Reid denounced the move as a “phony deal” that will allow Snyder to reap tax breaks for donating “a few blankets to the Indians.”

Reid on Wednesday cranked up his criticism again.

He noted that Abe Pollin, the late owner of the Washington Wizards, changed the local NBA team’s name from the Washington Bullets at a time Washington, D.C., was wracked with gun violence.

“The Wizards have a good name,” he said, adding they are enjoying success so far in the NBA playoffs as well.

As for the Redskins, “It is untoward of Daniel Snyder to try and hide behind tradition,” Reid said. “What tradition? A tradition of racism is all that name leaves in its wake.”

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at STetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Find him on Twitter: @STetreaultDC.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
US ‘superbug’ infections rising, but deaths dropping

Drug-resistant “superbug” infections have been called a developing nightmare that could set medicine back a century, making conquered germs once again untreatable.

9 student deaths since August shake USC campus

The first death occurred in late August, two days before classes began, when an incoming freshman was struck by a car while walking on a freeway near the University of Southern California.

 
Diplomat testifies Trump overheard demanding ‘investigations’ — LIVESTREAM

For the first time a top diplomat testified Wednesday that President Donald Trump was overheard asking about “the investigations” that he wanted Ukraine to pursue that are central to the impeachment inquiry.

As violence intensifies, students flee Hong Kong

University students from mainland China and Taiwan are fleeing Hong Kong, while those from two Scandinavian countries have been moved or urged to leave as college campuses become the latest battleground in the city’s 5-month-long anti-government unrest.

Near-record Venice flooding may cost hundreds of millions of euros

The worst flooding in Venice in more than 50 years prompted calls Wednesday to better protect the historic city from rising sea levels as officials calculated hundreds of millions of euros in damages.

SUVs a key culprit as world’s thirst for oil escalates, report says

The world’s thirst for oil will continue to grow until the 2030s, with climate-damaging emissions climbing until at least 2040 — and consumers’ insatiable appetite for SUVs is a big reason why.