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50 Senators To NFL: Change Redskins' Racist Name

WASHINGTON (WJZ) -- A renewed push to change the name of the Washington Redskins. Fifty U.S. senators sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, including some from Maryland. They say the name is a racist slur and now is the time to change it.

Christie Ileto has the growing pressure to put "Redskins" in the past.

More pressure to change the name of the Washington Redskins. Thursday, the heat comes from 50 U.S. senators, spelling out their disdain for the team's name in a letter to the NFL, saying: "We urge the NFL to send a clear message as the NBA: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports."

"I think the National Football League has a responsibility to listen," said Senator Ben Cardin, (D) Maryland.

This comes after L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling received a lifetime ban from the NBA following racist remarks against African-Americans.

Cardin is one of the lawmakers who signed the letter.

"We expect better things from those who hold this special ownership license in a limited commodity known as a professional sports team," he said.

The Redskins play in Prince George's County, Maryland. Team owner Dan Synder has long defended the team's name, vowing never to change it.

In an October letter to fans, Synder writes: "We can't ignore our 81-year history. We owe it to our fans, coaches and players to preserve that heritage."

"He's stated his case, but I'm seeing some enlightenment along the way," said Dr. Dennis Seymour, Baltimore American Indian Center. "People really getting the context that we in the Indian community find offensive."

Local tribes have long told WJZ the fight is personal.

"It really shouldn't matter to any group of people whether they are offended by this or not--it is offensive to us as indigenous people," one woman said.

Advocates vow until that name is changed, they will keep the pressure on.

Senator Barbara Mikulski also signed the letter.

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