Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said Thursday that the NFL commissioner and Washington Redskins owner should be ashamed of themselves for their continued resistance to changing the team's name.
"The native people are winning, and I do not know what Roger Goodell of the NFL and Dan Snyder are waiting for," Holmes Norton said on MSNBC. "Do they want to be kicked? Do they want to be dragged, kicking and screaming across the line? Shame."
Fifty senators have urged the NFL to take action to force a name change. Earlier this year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office voted to cancel the Redskins' trademarks, concluding it was disparaging to Native Americans.
The trademarks remain in place pending appeal.
Holmes Norton said it is easier to marginalize Native Americans because they make up such a small percentage of the population.
"They would [not] dare do this to African-Americans or Hispanics, but look at the difference between us," she said. "Native people are 2 percent or 3 percent of the population. African-Americans are about 10 percent, and Hispanics are an even larger number."
When confronted with polling that shows many people do not think a name change is necessary, the congresswoman said it is important to raise consciousness about the issue.
"Once you know, there is no excuse," she said.