NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the Washington Redskins' nickname in a letter to 10 members of Congress who had earlier urged team owner Daniel Snyder and the NFL to change the name because it is offensive to many Native Americans.
The members of Congress had sent their letters to Snyder, Goodell and the other 31 NFL franchises on May 13. Goodell's response was sent June 5, a digital copy of which was posted by the Indian Country Today Media Network.
"The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context," Goodell writes in the letter. "For the team's millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America's most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."