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Who: Sen. Maria Cantwell, Democrat from Washington state and chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee, and Rep. Tom Cole, Republican from Oklahoma and member of the Native American Caucus.
Change the name? 100 percent.
Why? The legislators condemned NFL Commission Roger Goodell for showing support for the team name during a pre-Super Bowl press conference in which he said the moniker “honors” Native Americans and that polls indicate that most people are in support of the name. Cantwell and Cole plan to send a letter to Goodell today, saying “The National Football League is on the wrong side of history…It is not appropriate for this multibillion-dollar 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization to perpetuate and profit from the continued degradation of tribes and Indian people.”
Shame Spiral rating: SMDH. A strongly worded is one thing, but Cantwell went further and said in an interview with the New York Times that lawmakers would “definitely” examine the NFL’s tax exempt status and other ways to pressure the league. The NFL, according to Cantwell, gets the money-saving status for educational purposes, even though it encourages the use of a racial slur.
Forcing the team to change its name would be a pretty unscrupulous use of power, but hitting the NFL and the team in the pocket could be an effective (and plausible) tactic for lawmakers. Cantwell and Cole already have some pretty worthy support: Other lawmakers, including Harry Reid, have come out against the team name. Oh yeah, and President Barack Obama also thinks it would be a good idea for Dan Snyder to consider changing the name.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, the post originally misidentified Sen. Maria Cantwell on first reference as Mary.
Illustration by Jandos Rothstein