The letter from members of the U.S. Senate came a year after President Barack Obama also weighed in on the controversy.
“If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team — even if they’ve had a storied history — was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it,” Obama told reporters last year.
With his ground-breaking comments, Obama made history once again: He is perhaps the first sitting president to say he would consider changing the Washington Redskins nickname – and his truth could not have come at a better time in the debate.
“All these mascots and team names related to Native Americans, Native Americans feel pretty strongly about it,” Obama said. “And I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real, legitimate concerns that people have about these things.”
The Washington Redskins nickname is not only offensive – it’s racist. Native Americans have argued for years that the name offends them, but Snyder has long refused requests from Native Americans and others to change the name, which originated during the 1930s.
Jackie Pata, the executive director of the American Congress of American Indians, said the NFL is contributing to racism by allowing the Redskins to keep the nickname.
“The NFL is a global brand,” Pata said in a statement. “But it wants to contribute to the positive image of the United States across the world rather than callously promoting discrimination against Native Americans, then it must stop promoting this slur and finally change the name.”