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D.C. congresswoman encouraged by new criticism of Redskins name

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The District of Columbia’s sole voice in Congress said Friday she is “encouraged” by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s evolving views on whether it is appropriate for Washington’s franchise, the Redskins, to have a name that many consider disparaging toward American Indians.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat and non-voting member of the House, pointed to a recent radio interview in which Mr. Goodell said “if we are offending one person, we need to be listening and making sure that we’re doing the right things to try to address that.”

His comments came months after he defended the name in a letter to Congress in June, according to Mrs. Holmes Norton’s office.

“Roger Goodell knows that a disparaging name for a NFL team implicates the league and its good name,” Mrs. Holmes Norton said, noting the patent office has resisted trademarks that contain the name “Redskins.”

“The legal handwriting is on the wall, and Goodell’s statement makes clear that this issue has become troublesome to the National Football League,” she said. “The team is so loved by us all in this region that it is inconceivable that a name change to eliminate an ethnic slur would diminish that admiration.”

In May, Mrs. Norton and nine other members of Congress sent a letter to Mr. Goodell, team owner Daniel Snyder and the league’s other franchises that urges the Redskins to change their name.

Mr. Snyder has resisted calls to rename the team, which raised its profile last season with the debut of star quarterback Robert Griffin III.

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