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Redskins president responds to senators pushing for name change

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said members of tribal organizations "are not mascots." (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Redskins president Bruce Allen cites the origin of the Redskins name and logo among reasons for keeping the team name. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A letter signed by 50 United State senators urging NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to change the name of the Washington Redskins was revealed Thursday in a report from Carl Hulse and Elena Schneider of the New York Times. The letter (which can be read here) points to the recent fallout from the racially insensitive comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

One day later, Redskins president Bruce Allen has responded via a letter to Senator Harry Reid. (Allen's letter can be read here.)

In his response, Allen highlights four points in the team's contention that the Redskins nickname and logo are not racially insensitive:

“The term Redskins originated as a Native American expressions of solidarity.”

Allen cites a seven-month research project conducted by Smithsonian Institution senior linguist Ives Goddard claiming “redskin” originated as a Native American expression of solidarity by multi-tribal delegations that traveled to Washington to negotiate Native American national policies.

“Our logo was designed by Native Americans.”

In 1971, while Allen’s father, George, was head coach, the current Redskins logo was designed and approved by Native American leaders, according to the letter.

“An overwhelming majority of Native Americans do not find the name offensive.”

Allen cites results of a survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania in which 90 percent of respondents said “Redskins” was not offensive.

“The vast majority of Americans are in favor of keeping the team name.”

Allen cites another survey, this one conducted this year by the Associated Press, in which 83 percent of Americans said they are in favor of the team keeping the Redskins name.

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