Colorado’s Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet have signed onto a letter condemning the Washington Redskins name as racist, demanding that it be changed — but they are not making the same demand of another Redskins team in their own backyard.
“The despicable comments made by [LA Clippers owner Donald] Sterling have opened up a national conversation about race relations,” wrote 55 senators in a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “We believe this conversation is an opportunity for the NFL to take action to remove the racial slur from the name of one of its marquee franchises.”
But Udall and Bennet seem less concerned about another team called the Redskins — that of La Veta High School in a tiny town in south-central Colorado. They’re also not demanding changes to the Lamar Savages — whose teams play 50 miles from the site of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 — or the Eaton Fighting Reds, according to Denver’s 9News.
“Senator Bennet believes this is a discussion that high schools and local communities can have,” Bennet spokesperson Kristin Lynch told the station.
Likewise, Udall spokesman Mike Saccone said it’s not the senator’s place to make demands of local communities.
“Senator Udall encourages local communities to have a discussion about team mascots to ensure their names are respectful and not racially charged,” Saccone told 9News.
The station reports that 17 high schools in Colorado have sports teams whose names reference Native Americans.
Bennet’s spokeswoman explained the distinction is because of the higher profile of the Washington Redskins.
“[I]t focuses on a billion dollar national sports league, with a professional team located in the nation’s capital,” Lynch said.
“Now is the time for the NFL to act,” the senators wrote to Goodell. “The Washington D.C. football team is on the wrong side of history. What message does it send to punish slurs against African Americans while endorsing slurs against Native Americas?”
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