Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) slammed the NFL on Tuesday for obsessing about "Deflategate" more than the use of the name "Redskins" for the Washington, D.C., franchise, a name he said is racist.
"I find it stunning that the National Football League is more concerned about how much air is in a football than with the racist franchise name that denigrates Native Americans across the country," Reid said on the Senate floor.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that the NFL is too worried about "Deflategate" and not worried enough about the Washington Redskins, which he said is a racist team name. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
"The Redskins name is a racist name," he added. "So I wish the commissioner would act as swiftly and decisively [to] change the name of the D.C. team as he did about not enough air in a football."
"Deflategate" is the name given to the scandal involving the New England Patriots, which have been accused of deflating footballs below the league minimum to accommodate quarterback Tom Brady. The NFL released a report last week saying that Brady probably knew about and may have directed equipment managers to release some air from the footballs in the AFC championship game earlier this year.
As a result of those findings, Brady on Monday was suspended for four games, and the team was stripped of two draft picks and fined $1 million. The decision has roiled fans of the team, and Brady's camp has indicated he will appeal the decision.
Reid and other Democrats have pressed the NFL several times over the last few years to force the Redskins to abandon their name. One way they've tried to put pressure on the league is to threaten to strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status.
But late last month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL would voluntarily give up that status.