WASHINGTON - A member of Congress is requesting a hearing on the Washington Redskins name, calling it "another example of racial insensitivity in sports" in the wake of Donald Sterling's lifetime ban from the NBA.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., sent a letter Friday to the chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce citing that derogatory nature of the word "redskins" and suggesting that the committee use its influence to persuade team owner Dan Snyder and the NFL to change the name.
Waxman pointed that Los Angeles Clippers owner Sterling's recent ban resulted from racist comments made in a private, then added: "In the case of the Washington football team, the offensive conduct is public, not private."
"Unlike NBA Commissioner (Adam) Silver, the commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, has publicly defended the owner," Waxman wrote. "In fact, he stated in a letter that `the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."'
Waxman suggested the committee could call both Snyder and Goodell as witnesses to explain "how their actions are consistent with the public interest."
Snyder has vowed never to change the name, calling it a "badge of honor."
Waxman is a ranking member of the committee, which overseas professional sports. A spokesman for the committee's chairman, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., did not immediately return messages seeking comment. The Redskins declined comment.