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Washington Redskins: The battle over a controversial name

Tags: jersey
Washington Redskins: The battle over a controversial name
washington-redskins-the-battle-over-a-controversial-name
In January, hours after agreeing to become the 28th coach in the history of the Washington Redskins, Jay Gruden Nathan MacKinnon Authentic Jersey described the opportunity as a "once-in-a-lifetime deal" and vowed to do "everything possible to return the franchise to its former glory". Last season, the Redskins missed the NFL play-offs for the 17th time in 21 seasons. On the field, Gruden's task is to fix a team who won just three games in 2013. Off it, he arguably faces a bigger battle. The team for which he is now the figurehead is at the centre of a racism row that has embroiled a nation, even more so than the Sterling case. Politicians are pressing the NFL for action and even President Barack Obama is involved. For years, many have questioned why the team continues to use a name that Native Americans find offensive. Now a concerted campaign from politicians, lawmakers and journalists, re-ignited by what has happened with the Clippers, is bringing the debate to a head. "It's derogatory, it's dehumanising, it's degrading and it's high time this was addressed and changed," says Ray Halbritter, the leader of the federally recognised tribe Oneida Nation. "It gives the wrong message to the world. "It's hurtful for us to hear. The English Dictionary says it's an offensive term - and it is. There is no grey area. "It's bad for the image of the National Football League to be using a racial epithet and making money out of it. "The NBA has taken a courageous stand against racism in sport, acknowledging that professional leagues cannot be a platform to promote bigotry. "The NBA has shown the NFL they have a moral responsibility to take disciplinary action." Support for Halbritter is growing. In February, two members of Congress Air max 90 sent a letter to NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, urging the league to "take a formal position in support of a name change". Goodell, who has refused to take a stance on the debate in the past, told reporters before the Superbowl that the league has been spending "the last year talking to many of the native American communities to make sure we understand the issues". He added: "This is the name of a football team that's had that name for 80 years and has presented the name in a way that has honoured Native Americans." But democratic Washington state senator Maria Cantwell disputes the league's position. "This term does not honour - but rather disparages - Indian people and tribes," she said. "The NFL is on the wrong side of history." In a statement responding to the http://www.officialcoloradoavalanche.com/Red+Matt+Duchene+Jersey criticism, the team said there are "many issues more pressing to native peoples than the name of a football team which has received strong support from Native Americans". However, district lawmakers agree with Cantwell.

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