City Desk

Pigskins Shame Spiral: Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Tom Cole

Pigskins Shame Spiral: SMH


WhoSen. 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

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  • ar

    Maria not Mary

  • Shari

    seriously these senators have nothing better to do - nothing that their state needs - but to go after the name of the Washington Redskins - a team that is NOT even in their state. Seriously pathetic!

  • Typical DC BS

    Need to show up when these two whine in public with a crying baby recorded on a loop through a megaphone.


  • wd

    I can only imagine that the NFL's educational purpose is to teach the children to be homophobic biggots?

  • Mike

    Does this mean Rep. Tom Cole will look to change the name Oklahoma too?? After all, is a Choctaw phrase which means "Red People"!!

  • James B Huffman Sr

    Madam Senator
    With all the serious issues facing our great country I,
    an 81 year old, find it incredulous that you are spending
    tax payer time and money pursuing something that is
    none of your business. I could write a book of much more
    important issues to our country and Washington State,
    however I'm sure you are aware of all of them. How
    about reprioritizing your list with real everyday issues.
    Please do your job as a patrioic American and get our
    country back to the America we all love. Political
    Correctness, partisian politics, special interest groups,
    lobbyists no longer have a place in DC.
    Please represent your constituents, specifically those folks
    that work and live in the Great State of Washington.
    I was born here and will most likely die here and
    until that day I remain a firm supporter of the freedoms
    our forefathers vested for us and the men and women
    of our armed forces that have paid for the continuence
    of them. Long live the Kansas City Chiefs Chicago Blackhawks
    and Washington Redskins
    /s/ James B Huffman Sr
    RMCS USCG Retired

  • GTG

    It's about time that the NFL is forced to stop using a racial slur. Historic use by other races doesn't make using a slur okay. Neither does the fact that people that are 5% Indian and know zero Indian history support the current name.

    A lot of white people didn't want black players playing for the Washington football team either and they got over it!

  • John

    Seriously, this is what our politicians worried about? If the Native American community insists on all this political correctness soon there will be nothing left to celebrate their heritage. The term Redskin refers to a physical characteristic which in no way makes them superior or inferior regardless of the accuracy of the term. This term is being made a racial slur by a few people who have nothing better to do but find things to complain about. Now lets vote out the imbeciles who think this is why they are elected to the senate or house

  • aDCBeast

    When they change the name of the state of Oklahoma ... then we'll change the Redskins name ...

    Oklahoma means RED PEOPLE in Choctaw

    What do you think the chances of changing Oklahoma's name are?

  • http://facebook Adell

    Cole isn't even a Washington state resident, and cantwell is a liberal bitch who needs to be restrained.
    There are many of us out there including myself who believe the Redskins name should never change.
    Being of indian decent myself, I believe these two ingrates are causing a story to cover up yet another of Obama's blunders toward the United States.
    The Washington Redskins name should be exonerated. After all, every indian wants to be know as a "bad ass" and when the redskins win the fans go wild.
    Anyone who thinks this is politically incorrect should be deported to the country of their choice never to return to American soil again.
    So Cantwell and Cole, How about doing something good for a change and actually go after those who would wish real harm upon our soil, such as our current president who has way too much power ego. Leave the football teams alone.

  • http://facebook Adell

    Oh,and my post on this site needs to be reviewed before posting??????!!!!! so much for my first amendment rights!

  • Mike Madden

    @ Adell:

    As you may or may not know, the First Amendment protects your right to free speech from interference by the government. It does not give you the right to say whatever you want on our site. Your post was flagged for review by our blog system because you used a bunch of words (like "bitch" and "ass") that made the computer think your comment was spam.

    Please do let me know if a government official attempts to prevent you from posting further comments, though.