Tester, Walsh join effort to change racist NFL team name



Democratic Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh signed a letter to National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell urging Washington to change the name of its football team. The letter, first obtained by The New York Times, references the National Basketball Association's quick response to racist remarks made by one of its owners and states bluntly that Goodell must follow suit.

"The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” the letter states. “We urge the NFL to formally support a name change for the Washington football team.”

Fifty members of the Senate signed the letter, which was circulated by Sen. Maria Cantwell and endorsed by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid. Tester, who serves as chair of the Senate's committee on Indian Affairs, is the third signature to appear on the letter, after Cantwell and Reid. Walsh's is the eighth signature.

Five Senate Democrats did not sign the letter. It was not circulated among Republicans.

Last month, the Indy published an essay on the topic of Native American imagery in pop culture, including the NFL, titled "What's the big deal?" If you're looking for a little more perspective on why this issue — and the senators' letter — is important, give Migizi Pensoneau's story a read.

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