Congress members call on league to push for Skins name change

WASHINGTON – The campaign to change the Washington Redskins’ name has caught the attention of two members of Congress.

The Washington Post reports that Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., have written a letter to to be sent Monday to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling the Redkins’ team name “an insult to Native Americans” and calling on the league “to take a formal position in support of a name change.”

The letter makes reference to a Patent and Trademark Office decision in December saying that the name Redskins is “derogatory slang.” (That case involved an application for a brand name for pork rinds.)

The two Congress members say the league is “on the wrong side of history” and adds that “It is not appropriate for this multibillion-dollar … tax-exempt organization to perpetuate and profit from the continued degradation of tribes and Indian people.”

The Post says team spokesman Tony Wyllie, in a statement, says that Congress has more important issues to deal with and notes that the name “Oklahoma” means “Red People” in the Choctaw language.

Cantwell is chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Cole is a member of the House Native American Caucus.

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