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Washington Redskins name is insulting - Congress letter

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The debate over the Washington Redskin's name has re-emerged once more after two lawmakers sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell insisting that the name is an 'insult' to all Native Americans.

Washington have been in the headlines in recent months, and have been under pressure to change their name.

Goodell insists the Redskins name is intended to 'honour' Native Americans and franchise owner Dan Snyder has refused to contemplate changing it.

Now however more pressure is on the team to change their name once again after two members of the US Senate, Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Tom Cole, said they should change their name because it is a ' slur'.

"The terminology used by the Washington football team has been determined to be a slur," read the letter, which was printed in the New York Times.

"It is, in fact, an insult to Native Americans," they added. "We are calling on you and the National Football League to take a formal position in support of a name change."

Cole is one of only two Native Americans in congress while Cantwell is the chairwoman of the Senate Indian affairs.

However their letter was met with a blunt response from Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie.

He said: "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?"

The war of words didn't stop there however, with Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation, the body which has been leading the call for the Redskins to change their name,  countering that the matter was an issue for Congress to discuss.

"While the Washington team somehow claims that Congress has better things to do than intervene in a serious issue that involves taxpayer dollars, it is the exact opposite: Congress has a responsibility to the American people to put an end to this kind of taxpayer-subsidized bigotry," he said.

The Redskins claim to have only received seven letters opposing their team name, and 200 from Native Americans who support it.

"We should not turn our back on these Native Americans," the statement said. "Their voices deserve to be heard."

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Washington Redskins

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