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Harry Reid says he won't attend Redskins game until team changes name

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In this file photo, Washington Redskins Marko Mitchell puts his helmet on during their NFL football minicamp practice at their training facility in Ashburn, Va.AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he won't attend a Washington Redskins home game until the football team changes its controversial name.

In a letter late last week to the team's president, Reid called the Redskins name a racial slur that disparages the American people. The Nevada Democrat, who said he represents 27 tribes in his state, rejected Bruce Allen's invitation to a Redskins home game until the team does "the right thing" and changes its name.

"I will not stand idly by while a professional sports team promotes a racial slur as a team name and disparages the American people," Reid said in the letter. "Nor will I consider your invitation to attend a home game until your organization chooses to do the right thing and change its offensive name."

Reid said the matter is "personal" for him.

Last month, the Redskins responded to Senate Democrats who said the nickname is a racial slur, saying it is “respectful” to Native Americans and suggested the lawmakers didn't have all of the facts.

In a letter to Reid, Allen wrote: "Our use of `Redskins' as the name of our football team for more than 80 years has always been respectful of and shown reverence toward the proud legacy and traditions of Native Americans."

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.