Megan Cloherty and Dave McConnell
WASHINGTON – After NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for racist comments made in private, California Congressman Henry Waxman says he wonders how the team’s owner and the NFL can justify the Redskins’ name.
“Here in Washington we have a football team and the offensiveness of the name of that team, the Redskins, is public not private, and it’s being condoned and defended by the National Football League,” Waxman says.
Rep. Waxman, a Democrat, is calling on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to convene a hearing, inviting team owner Dan Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to explain their defense of the team’s name.
“It’s an offensive name because it’s racist. And if they won’t change their minds, I think they should be there before a committee of Congress and publicly explain it — not just in press statements — which is what they’ve done by saying it’s part of the tradition,” Waxman says.
Representing California, many might wonder why Waxman is getting involved in the debate. His answer: It’s an ongoing responsibility of Congress.
“They have a lot of special treatment from the federal government, I’m talking about the league now, and if they’re going to perpetuate racism we should ask them why. And why should we accept that and give them all these special privileges?” Waxman says.