By Keith Laing
The president of the Washington Redskins invited Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to a game next season, saying the Nevada lawmaker should attend before he criticizes the team.
“I hope you will attend one of our home games, where you would witness first-hand that the Washington Redskins are a positive, unifying force for our community in a city and region that is divided on so many levels,” Bruce Allen wrote in a letter Friday. [READ THE LETTER HERE.]
Reid has called for months for the Redskins to change their name in the face of complaints from Native Americans that the moniker represents a slur against their culture.
“I think [Washington Redskins owner Dan] Snyder is so shortsighted on this,” he said in a December 2013 interview with The Hill.
“We live in a society where you can’t denigrate a race of people,” Reid continued then. “And that’s what that is. I mean, you can’t have the Washington Blackskins. I think it’s so shortsighted.”
Reid and a group of 49 other Democratic senators signed a letter to NFL Commissioner Goodell this week urging him to force the Redskins to change their name. The senators cited the NBA's lifetime ban against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racially insensitive comments toward African Americans.
Allen said in his letter Friday that Reid was the one who was being "shortsighted."
“The Washington Redskins are one of the NFL’s flagship franchises,” he wrote. “We have played in 11 NFL Championship games and have won five World Championships. With over 81 years of tradition created by thousands of alumni and millions of fans, the Redskins name continues to carry a deep and purposeful meaning.”
He added that “the term Redskin originated as a Native American term of expression” and “our logo was designed by Native Americans.
“Our use of ‘Redskins’ as the name of our football team for more than 81 years has always been respectful of and shown reverence toward the proud legacy and traditions of Native Americans.”
-This story was updated at 5:07 p.m.