State lawmakers join pressure on Washington football team's mascot

May 7, 2014

A group of New York state lawmakers are joining a growing national push for the pro football team the Washington Redskins to change its name.

The group plans to introduce a resolution in the state legislature denouncing the football team's use of the word "redskin" and urging team owner Daniel Snyder to pick a new name.

"The word is absolutely offensive to the Native American community and beyond," said Democratic Assemblyman Keith Wright, noting names like New York Giants and Jets are not offensive, except maybe to broken down jet engines.

Wright was joined by fellow Democratic Assemblyman Karim Camara as well as Republican Senators Joe Griffo (R-Rome) and George Maziarz, who chairs the Senate committee on tribal relations.

"In light of the tremendous public demand for this wrong to be corrected, Daniel Snyder’s refusal to change this moniker is unconscionable," Wright added.

The Oneida Indian Nation has been leading a campaign against the NFL's teams use of the name, which now includes several members of Congress. Several Native Americans say the name is offensive and is a racial slur.

"New York is making a statement that it wants to stand on the right side of history," said Oneida Representative Ray Halbritter.

Snyder has defended the team's name, calling it a "badge of honor" and has said he'll never change it.

The resolution also would denounce other teams, professional or not, that use racist names. No vote on the measure has been scheduled.