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Washington Redskins Owner Dan Snyder has hired a lobbying firm to defend the team name on Capitol Hill, a move that comes as members of Congress are stepping up pressure on the NFL to force a name change.
Lobbying disclosure forms show Snyder has hired McGuireWoods — a well-known K street lobbying firm — for help with, in the words of the filing, discussions about the "team origins, history and traditions."
Many consider the team name a racial slur and members of Congress have become increasingly vocal in calling for the team to change it. Several weeks ago, 50 U.S. senators co-signed a letter addressed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stating that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports and that D.C.'s football team is on the wrong side of history.
The president of the Washington Redskins fired back with a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stating that the team name was respectful toward American Indians.
The team also launched a largely unsuccessful social media campaign against Reid, asking fans to send tweets to the Senate majority leader showing their pride in the team name, but it backfired as many opponents of the name used the campaign to criticize the team.
The stakes are high in the battle on Capitol Hill, as members of Congress have more sway than the average football fan. The NFL receives a tax break from the federal government because the multi-billion dollar enterprise is treated as a non-profit.
“I think it really smashes a lot of ideas about what the Smithsonian does and what it’s supposed to do,” one curator says of the African-American Museum’s growing collection.