Looks like the NFL is having some trouble over there.
With the Washington Redskins set to play a regular-season game in London in 2016, two members of the British Parliament fired off a missive aimed at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that voiced their problems with the "Redskins" moniker. A copy of the letter was obtained by ESPN.
The letter says the league should change the team's name or "at the minimum, send a different team to our country to represent the sport, one that does not promote a racial slur."
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""We were shocked to learn the derivation of the term 'R*dskin,' pertaining as it does to the historic abuse of native Americans," wrote British Labour Party members Ruth Smeeth and Ian Austin. "The exportation of this racial slur to the UK this autumn, when the Washington team is due to play, directly contravenes the values that many in Britain have worked so hard to instill."
The league acknowledged it received the letter, but the league returned the equivalent of a shoulder shrug.
"A team's name is a club decision," Brian McCarthy, the NFL's vice president of communications said. "We recognize there are strong views on both sides of this."
However, Smeeth and Austin aren't backing down. In fact, they and other Parliament members met with representatives of the Change the Mascot campaign in the House of Commons in January. Change the Mascot was started in 2013 by the National Congress of American Indians.
"We're quite clear that sport is a vehicle for cultural change and celebration of what's best about society rather than hate and division," Smeeth said last week. "That's why bringing in new racial slurs to Britain is unacceptable. This is not the way we would want Native Americans introduced to our country."
England is known for its strict anti-racism laws when it comes to sports, due in part to several ugly incidents aimed at black soccer players that have occured over the years. The issue with the Redskins could also cause problems when it comes to broadcasting the game in England.
"Given it's taxpayer-funded, if we believe it's a racial slur, then that means problems for the BBC in terms of coverage of the event," Smeeth said. "There is going to come a pressure point. The last thing the NFL wants -- after putting so much behind its brand in the UK -- is a good number of us to begin putting pressure on the BBC in terms of what they're showing and how they're showing it. This is not the image the NFL wants portrayed in the UK. "
However, a BBC spokesman said in an email that it's the network's policy to refer to a sports team by its official name, but it also "has not started" planning for the October game between the Redskins at the Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium.
This issue doesn't appear to be one that will go away. Let's see how the NFL deals with this.
(H/T to ESPN)