Last month, 10 members of Congress publicly called on Roger Goodell to change the name of the Redskins. Now, Goodell responds, in a letter calling the nickname "a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."
In a letter dated June 5, and addressed to Tom Cole and Betty McCollum, the co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus, Goodell wrote:
Goodell's message also included a Redskins.com interview with an Inuit chief, and a transcript of a radio interview with a Patawomeck chief, neither of whom are offended by the name. You can read Goodell's full packet below.
On the floor of the House yesterday, Eni Faleomavaega, the delegate from American Samoa, fired back, calling Goodell's letter "insensitive and ignorant." Betty McCollum also released a statement, which reads in part,
Unfortunately, NFL Commissioner Goodell’s letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of Dan Snyder and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning ever larger profits, even if it means exploiting a racist stereotype of Native Americans. For the head of a multi-billion dollar sports league to embrace the twisted logic that ‘Redskin’ actually ‘stands for strength, courage, pride, and respect’ is a statement of absurdity.
Would Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder actually travel to a Native American community and greet a group tribal members by saying, ‘Hey, what’s up redskin?’ I think not. (“Hey, what’s up redskin” is a quote from materials provided to my office by the NFL, along with the claim that “Redskins” is a “term of endearment” among Native Americans.)
In March, Faleomavaega introduced a bill that would cancel any trademarks that include the word "Redskins."