July 13, 2020

Udall Statement on Washington Football Team Changing Racist Name

WASHINGTON –Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, issued the following statement after the Washington, D.C. National Football League (NFL) team announced it will change its name, which has been broadly condemned by organizations representing Native American Tribes and Native communities across the country: 

“The football team that represents the nation’s capital should not play under the banner of a racist name that denigrates Native Americans and runs contrary to the ideals that our nation strives to uphold. I am glad that the Washington football team has finally reckoned with the hurtful truth about its name, and I urge the team to listen to and include Native voices as it considers a new name. 

“When my father, Stewart Udall, was Interior Secretary during the 1960s, he used the tools at his disposal to pressure the Washington football team to integrate, even as its ownership resisted. Today, like in the 1960s, we are at another critical juncture for racial justice in the United States. As we confront this nation’s deep history of racism in our society and our institutions, we should root out the racist caricatures that are still far too prevalent in American culture.

“The name change is a welcome but long overdue step forward. Now, the franchise has an opportunity to hear from and involve Native Americans in the process of renaming the team, to ensure that they don’t make the same mistake twice.”