Why Virginia’s Tim Kaine and Mark Warner didn’t sign the Senate’s letter to the NFL about Redskins name


Terry McAuliffe, left, and Tim Kaine, right. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Notably missing among the 50 Democrats in the U.S. Senate who urged the NFL to reconsider the Redskins name this week this week: Tim Kaine and Mark Warner. Those two Senators, of course, represent Virginia, where the Redskins are based, and where the team practices and holds its training camp.

The Post reached out to both senators’ offices to ask why they declined to sign the letter, which was signed by 49 other Senators. (Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida wrote his own letter.)

An aide to Kaine said he has been publicly supportive of a name change for months, but that he had concerns about the tone of the letter sent by the Senate Democrats.

Last fall, Kaine told Charlottesville’s 106.1 The Corner that he would probably change the name if it were up to him.

“I’m not the owner so I’m not the one making the call,” Kaine said in October. “But there’s a good example of an owner for a pro sports franchise that everybody loved here in Washington, Abe Pollin. And at some point he decided Washington Bullets might be a good name and that was the team name for a while. They called themselves ‘faster than a speeding bullet.’ But Abe Pollin was an enlightened owner who decided that a name that was okay in the past, now was not okay. And I’m not the owner, but if I were the owner I think I’d make the decision to find a better name.”

An aide to Warner said in a statement that “Senator Warner believes that it’s not for Congress to dictate what the league does. He believes that over time, team names will change to reflect the times, as happened with the Washington Wizards.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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