British Parliament Members Write Letter to Roger Goodell Regarding Redskins Name

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2016

Oct 12, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detail view of the Washington Redskins logo during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has been handed another stern request to change Washington's team name from the Redskins. 

Per a Wednesday report by Mike Wise of The Undefeated (via, two members of British Parliament, Ruth Smeeth and Ian Austin, sent a "strongly worded letter" to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to "at the minimum, send a different team to our country to represent the sport, one that does not promote a racial slur."

Ideally, per the letter that was dated Feb. 2, Goodell and the NFL would change the team's nickname: "The exportation of this racial slur to the U.K. this autumn, when the Washington team is due to play, directly contravenes the values that many in Britain have worked so hard to instill."

Smeeth expanded on her thoughts from the letter, telling Wise in a phone interview she and Austin are "quite clear that sport is a vehicle for cultural change and celebration of what's best about society rather than hate and division. That's why bringing in new racial slurs to Britain is unacceptable. This is not the way we would want Native Americans introduced to our country."

Wise added that Smeeth and Austin were among the group from Parliament who met with members of the Change the Mascot campaign last month, and "no nation has stricter anti-racism laws in sports, due in part to disturbing incidents encountered by black soccer players over the years, including having banana peels and monkey chants hurled at them during matches."

In addition to the letter from Smeeth and Austin, Wise noted Wembley Stadium has "its own anti-racism charter, including the banishment of 'racial, homophobic or discriminatory abuse, chanting or harassment.'"

A Wembley spokesperson told Wise that "the issue over Washington's name is now being discussed internally."

Washington is scheduled to take on the Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium in London on Oct. 30. NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy told Wise in an email that "a team's name is a club decision. We recognize there are strong views on both sides of this."

Washington owner Dan Snyder said in 2014 the team's nickname is a term of honor and respect, and he has no plans to change it. Last year, a federal judge ordered the team's trademark registration be cancelled on grounds that the nickname may be derogatory to Native Americans.