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Redskins: Name change not a priority

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- On the day two congress people planned to send a strongly worded letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about urging support for the Redskins name change, American University held a sports law symposium on the topic.

DC Councilmember at-large David Grosso said "The term Redskins is a racist and derogatory term... it's been defined as such in the dictionary...not just one, but four dictionaries."

Just about everybody has an opinion, like lawyer Jesse Witten, who represents native Americans in a trademark lawsuit against the team.

"Trademark action that we've brought has galvanized a lot of attention and a focal point, but what will change the name is if enough people feel the team name should be changed and team owners come to realize time is on the side of changing the team name."

Reporter David Hinijosa wrote an article for the San Antonio Express about a Texas high school, who embrace their name the Donna Redskins.

"They're fully invested in this name small town of 16 thousand people. Ninety percent of people don't want name changed so unless there's some act of congress or something, I don't think it's gonna happen."

Keynote speaker of the day, DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFL Players Association says the team and the NFL should at least be 'talking' about it.

"At least I believe as we celebrate black history month the greatest moments in our country have always been those where people exhibited the bravery to have a conversation... about what's right."

Nothing was decided at the symposium, but one thing is whether the Redskins name is racist and should be changed is not as cut and dried an issue as it appears.

The team released this statement about the controversy:

With all the important issues Congress has to deal with such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care, don't they have more important issues to worry about than a football team's name? And given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means "Red People" in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic.

As ESPN reported on September 18, 2013 'We have two great tribes here,' says Kingston assistant school superintendent Ron Whipkey, 'the Chicasaw and the Choctaw. And not one member of those tribes has ever come to me or our school with a complaint. It is a prideful thing to them. It's a name that honors the people,' says Kingston English teacher Brett Hayes, who is Choctaw. 'The word 'Oklahoma' itself is Choctaw for 'red people.' The students here don't want it changed.'