Idaho’s U.S. senators, James Risch and Mike Crapo, have a chance to do something admirable, to reach across the political aisle and do right by one of their most chronically underserved constituencies.
On May 21, 50 senators, all Democrats, wrote a letter to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to support a name change for the Washington Redskins.
That Risch and Crapo didn’t sign the letter is not their fault. They weren’t asked. But wouldn’t it be something if Idaho’s senators contacted their Democratic colleagues and asked to be included?
Here’s why they should:
Recently, the Idaho Council on Indian Affairs discussed mascot names such as “Redskins” and “Savages.” Representatives of Idaho’s tribes were clear. They view nicknames such as those used by Teton and Salmon high schools as derogatory and offensive.
Risch and Crapo adding their names to the letter might not change anything on the big stage. The Washington, D.C., football team has a whole lot of greenbacks at stake and devotion to the bottom line generally trumps the bruised feelings of a politically powerless minority.
But Idaho’s senators could send a powerful message here at home – that we hear what our Native American friends and neighbors are saying and are willing to try and address their concerns.
The logo on the helmet of the DC NFL team may never change. But if Crapo and Risch were willing to step out on that limb, there’s a chance folks in Salmon and Driggs would see that it’s time for them to find new mascots.