Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted the NFL and Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for not changing the name of football team, saying the league should follow the example set by the NBA in its handling of LA Clippers' owner Donald Sterling's racist comments.
"Commissioner Silver and the NBA leadership have set the standard for how professional sports organization should act in the face of racism," Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said on the Senate floor. "How long will the NFL continue to do nothing, zero, as one of its team bears the name that inflicts so much pain for Native Americans?"
"It is untoward of Daniel Snyder to try to hide behind tradition. Tradition? That's what he says in refusing to change the name of the team," Reid said. "Tradition? What tradition? A 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."
Reid said it's also the responsibility of the NFL to remove the name from the league.
"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," he added. "For far too long, the NFL has been sitting on its hands doing nothing while an entire population of Americans has been denigrated."
"Remove this hateful term from your league's vocabulary. Follow the NBA's example and rid the league of bigotry and racism. The fans will support it," he said.
Asked to clarify whether Reid wants the NFL to ban Snyder, Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid said, "The NBA found the authority to hold Sterling accountable and the NFL should do the same for Snyder. Where there's a will, there's a way."
Snyder has recently said that he has no plans to change the name after doing extensive research on whether to keep it.