WASHINGTON – Speaking on the floor of the United States Senate on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) delivered a plea to the NFL to take action against Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington NFL team, by following the footsteps of the NBA which took action against the Don Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Senator Reid’s speech came one day after the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced he was banning Sterling for life from attending any NBA game and imposed a $2.5 million fine on him for Sterling’s racists remarks that were made public last weekend.
Senator cited the 22 tribal organizations in his home state of Nevada during his speech challenging the NFL to take action against Dan Snyder, who refuses to change the name that if offensive and harmful to American Indians.
Watch the speech:
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV):
“It is untoward of Daniel Snyder to try and hide behind tradition. Tradition? That’s what he says in refusing to change the name of the team. Madame President, tradition – what tradition? The tradition of racism is all that name leaves in its wake. Mr. Snyder knows that in sports the only tradition that matters is winning. So I urge Daniel Snyder to do what’s morally right and remove this degrading term from the league by changing his team’s name.
But since Snyder fails to show any leadership, the National Football League should take an assist from the NBA and pick up the slack. It would be a slam-dunk…For far too long the NFL has been sitting on its hands, doing nothing while an entire population of Americans has been denigrated.
So I say to Commissioner Roger Goodell – I believe Roger Goodell is a good man, but it’s time for this good man to act. Remove this hateful term from your league’s vocabulary. Follow the NBA’s example and rid the league of bigotry and racism. Your fans will support it.”
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was quick to applaud Senator Reid for his statement.
“The NFL and Daniel Snyder must now follow in the footsteps of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and those who have made the right decision in standing against racial bigotry. NCAI is committed to ending this era where racial slurs, mocking caricatures, and rampant stereotyping are acceptable,” stated part of a news released by the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.
Levi Rickert, a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, is the publisher and editor of Native News Online. Previously, he served as editor of the Native News Network. He is a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan.