Goodell defends 'Redskins' nickname

JARED WICKERHAM / GETTY IMAGES Tom Brady and Tim Tebow during Patriots minicamp.
JARED WICKERHAM / GETTY IMAGES Tom Brady and Tim Tebow during Patriots minicamp.
Posted: June 14, 2013

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the Washington Redskins nickname is a "unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."

Goodell was responding to a letter from 10 members of Congress who want the name changed because it is offensive to many Native Americans.

He cited the nickname's origins and polls that support its popularity. Goodell wrote that he understands the feelings surrounding it are complex and could change, but he also pointed out fan pride in the team's heritage.

The name is the subject of a legal challenge from a group seeking to have the team lose its trademark protection.

Team owner Dan Snyder has vowed to never change the name.

Teton High School in Driggs, Idaho, this week became the latest high school to drop the name. That decision is a way to encourage students and the community to see beyond skin color and stereotypes, said Monte Woolstenhulm, superintendent of District 401.

"Students need to be taught to see people beyond the color of their skin," said Woolstenhulm, who was a student at the school. "They need to get to know who people are without using nicknames or assumptions based on outward appearances.''

Woolstenhulm said maintenance crews will begin removing Redskins logos and signs from around the school this summer. Uniforms for all athletic teams and cheer squads will be phased out and the school newspaper, "The War Cry," will be renamed.

At the college level, the NCAA warned more than a dozen schools in 2005 to change American Indian nicknames or logos or face sanctions. Some have followed the warning, including North Dakota, once known as the "Fighting Sioux," while others have gotten permission from tribes to keep their names.

Noteworthy * 

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gave his stamp of approval on the team's acquisition of Tim Tebow.

"I don't worry about much these days,'' Brady told reporters at the team's minicamp. "I've been around long enough to see all different kinds of things happen - trades, people being cut, guys joining the team and all the media attention, what happened in 2007 , post-Super Bowls, tough losses. It comes with the territory.

"So I think everyone is prepared to deal with some level of different things that happen on a daily basis and to be mentally tough enough to push through and still be able to do your job at a high level is most important. That's really what you owe the team - to show up every day and do your job the best you can.''

Brady said he'd do all he can to acclimate Tebow to the Patriots' offense.

"Certainly any time a new teammate comes in, you welcome him and you try to do whatever you can to help them fit in and understand what we need to do,'' Brady said.

* Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is described as being in good spirits, recovering at home in Buffalo after having surgery to remove cancerous cells from his upper jaw.

Kelly's wife, Jill, posted a note on her Twitter account, saying "there's a long road ahead," but doctors are pleased with her husband's recovery. She said the next step is awaiting results of bone tests.

* Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Brett Brackett will be sidelined until training camp following groin surgery.

A second-year player from Penn State, Brackett is competing for a roster spot in Jacksonville. The Jaguars claimed Brackett off waivers from the Eagles early last season, but he injured his knee during his first practice and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve.

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