Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday said the National Football League should follow the lead of the National Basketball Association in fighting racism by forcing the Washington Redskins to change its name.
Reid and other Democrats in particular have said the Redskins name is a racial slur against Native Americans. Reid’s renewed call was made just a day after Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was given a lifetime ban from the NBA, and a $2.5 million fine, after a recording surfaced in which he asked his girlfriend to stop bringing blacks to basketball games.
The lifetime ban from the NBA against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling prompted a top Democrat to call on the NFL to change the Washington Redskins name. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File
Reid held up the NBA’s decision as a new standard that all professional sports leagues should follow.
“How long will the NFL continue to do nothing, zero, as one of its teams bears a name that inflicts so much pain on Native American?” Reid asked on the Senate floor.
Reid said he is wondering whether the NFL has seen the NBA’s “decisive action,” and blasted Redskins owners Daniel Snyder for defending the team’s name by saying it is traditional. “What tradition? A tradition of racism is all that name leaves in its wake,” he said.
He said that since Snyder refuses to act, “the National Football League should take an assist from the NBA and pick up the slack. It would be a slam dunk.”
Reid said sports teams have change their names before, and noted that the Washington Wizards changed their name, and are still finding fans. “The Wizards is a good name,” he said.
The Senate Majority Leader also said Snyder could ask a bunch of school kids to think up a name, and said most would be better than the Redskins.