Cantwell: Redskins name change is about respect

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said Thursday that lawmakers’ calls to change the name of the Washington Redskins is a matter of respecting tribal groups.

ADVERTISEMENT
Cantwell’s floor speech came after she and 49 other senators sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to change the football team’s name. They wrote that he should follow the lead of the NBA in punishing Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for making racially insensitive remarks.

“This issue is a reminder to all of us that intolerance in our communities is a problem,” Cantwell said while wearing a tribal necklace. “We signed this letter to show that we respect these tribal organizations that requested this name change.”

More than 300 tribes representing more than 2 million people have endorsed a name change.

Cantwell said she’d be sending additional letters to her Senate colleagues who didn't sign the letter, calling on them to "join the right side of history."

“I believe if every member of this body comes together on this issue we can force a change,” Cantwell said. “We’re not going to give up this battle.”

Cantwell serves on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and formally served as chairwoman.