In an effort to counter protests against their team name, the Washington Redskins have launched an initiative called Community Voices that will highlight the “hundreds” of letters, e-mails, and other correspondences supporting the name, including from American Indians.
“Their comments make clear why our team name means so much to them and to so many in the Native American community,” the team said in a statement on Monday. “It is essential for Redskins Nation to know what the majority of Native Americans really think — in their own words — and why it is so important that we listen to their voices on this issue.”
The Community Voices project comes as two members of Congress are set to send a letter to the NFL condemning its defense of the team’s name later this week. Senator Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) and Representative Tom Cole (R., Okla.) have penned a letter to commissioner Roger Goodell calling the name a “racial slur,” according to the New York Times. Cantwell also floated the idea of revoking the team’s tax-exempt status.
In response, a spokesman with the team said that Congress should be focusing elsewhere. “With all the important issues Congress has to deal with, such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care, don’t they have more important issues to worry about than a football team’s name?” he said. “And given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means ‘red people’ in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic.”