Roger Goodell writes letter to Congress defending Washington Redskins name


Apr 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks before the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Goodell wrote a letter to Congress defending the Washington Redskins name. The letter comes as a reply to a letter he received from 10 members of Congress calling for the name to be changed.

“As you may know,” Goodell writes, “the team began as the Boston Braves in 1932, a name that honored the courage and heritage of Native Americans.  The following year, the name was changed to the Redskins — in part to avoid confusion with the Boston baseball team of the same name, but also to honor the team’s then-head coach, William ‘Lone Star’ Dietz.  Neither in intent nor use was the name ever meant to denigrate Native Americans or offend any group.”

It is the positive intentions with which the name was chosen that it’s meaning is “distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context.”

“For the team’s millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America’s most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

“Issues raised with respect to the Washington Redskins name are complex,” and he points out that the NFL “respect[s] that reasonable people may view it differently, particularly over time.”

Here is a picture of the letter (via Deadspin):