Eni Faleomavaega, the non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives from American Samoa, took the floor today. In his speech, he said that he was appalled that the NFL would allow such a racist, derogatory slur to be used as a name for one of their teams. Apparently there are not bigger issues at hand in the House.
“It’s time the National Football League and the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, face the reality that the continued use of the word ‘Redskin’ is unacceptable,” Faleomavaega said. “It is a racist, derogatory term, and patently offensive to Native Americans. The Native American community has spent millions of dollars over the past two decades trying earnestly to fight the racism that is perpetuated by this slur. The fact that the NFL and Commissioner Goodell continue to deny this is a shameful treatment of the mistreatment of Native Americans for so many years.”
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has and most likely will continue to stand his ground about never changing the name, because in his mind is not meant to be or used in a way that is offensive. He’s entitled to that. But that most certainly doesn’t mean that members of Congress are going to make it easy.
Faleomaveaga has sent a letter previously to Snyder stating that the name is equal to that of the N-word. There has been no report of a reply from Snyder, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has, much to Faleomavaega’s disliking.
“Mr Goodell, however, in a dismissive manner, declared that the team’s name is a ‘unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.’ Give me a break,” Faleomavaega said.
I found it quite interesting that the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey shows that most American Indians are not bothered by the team name. It demonstrates that the make up of the total population of Indians and Native Americans is very small, so the polling took just under a year to conduct. Out of 768 responses in that period of polling, in every state excluding Hawaii and Alaska where the survey doesn’t interview, only 9 percent said they found the name “offensive.” One percent had no answer. The poll question reads “The professional football team in Washington calls itself the Washington Redskins. As a Native American, do you find that name offensive or doesn’t it bother you?”
The question I have after reading this study would be whether or not Native Americans/Indians are being misrepresented in the House. Surely there must be other important issues at hand that pinches the nerves of more than 9 percent.
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Sports-Kings Down and Distance contributor Austin Peat @PistolPeat187