EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Select Eastchester sports fans do not share the sentiment of 50 Democratic United States Senators, who wrote letters to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, urging the league to change the name of the Washington Redskins.
The senators drew their cue from the NBA, which banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million and is in the process of forcing him to sell the squad after recordings of his racist comments were leaked to the public.
Citing the NBA’s no-tolerance handling of the Sterling incident, the senators implored the NFL to act in a similar manner, calling the term “Redskin” a racial slur.
"Today, we urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports. It's time for the NFL to endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C. football team,” the senators wrote to the commissioner. “The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur.”
Although he said that he agreed with the NBA’s handling of Sterling – who reportedly gave permission to his wife to sell to the highest bidder on Friday – Tuckahoe resident Cory Allen said that they shouldn’t be able to force a team to change its entire brand.
“You can’t just take away a team’s name. That’d be like taking the star from Dallas or the Giants’ team colors. That’s what people know them as,” he said. “We’ve become really politically correct and I think this is them pushing a little too far.”
In the letter, the politicians claimed that Sterling’s comments “opened up a national conversation.”
“The despicable comments made by Mr. Sterling have opened up a national conversation about race relations. We believe this conversation is an opportunity for the NFL to take action to remove the racial slur from the name of one of its marquee franchises,” the letter – which reportedly has not yet been received by the NFL – says.
The Washington Redskin nickname has been in existence since the team relocated from Boston to Washington, D.C. in 1937. In recent years, there has been pressure from several outlets insisting that owner Dan Snyder change the name, something he has steadfastly refused to do.
“It has to be all or nothing. If they force the Redskins to change the name, then you have to look at the Cincinnati Reds, the Atlanta Braves, the Florida State Seminole, all of them across all the sports,” Eastchester resident Brett Burke said while having lunch at Growlers Beer Bistro. “It’s too slippery of a slope. I don’t think it’s going to end well.”