News & Politics

Harry Reid Says He Won’t Attend Redskins Games Until Team Changes Name

The Senate majority leader turned down an invitation from the team to attend a game this fall.

No local football games for this guy. Photograph via Senate Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t be enticed by the offer of sitting with the executives at FedEx Field during the upcoming NFL season as long as Washington’s NFL team uses a racial slur as its nickname, he writes in a letter to team executive Bruce Allen.

Reid’s letter, published Monday evening, is the latest salvo in his campaign to persuade the Washington team to change its name, which is widely considered a racial slur against Native Americans. He is responding to Allen’s offer last month to attend a game in hopes of convincing Reid that the team’s name is not derogatory.

But Reid, a Nevada Democrat who says he represents members of 27 different tribes, writes back to Allen that he won’t attend any of the team’s home games as long as its current name remains in place.

“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 writes. “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.”

Turning down Allen’s offer also saves Reid the hassle of having to list football tickets on an ethical disclosure form to comply with Senate gifts rules, although there’s still a good chance Reid will bump into someone representing the local NFL franchise: The team recently hired a lobbying firm to defend its name.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.