NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has written a letter to Congress in defense of the Washington Redskins' controversial nickname.
Goodell was asked by 10 members of Congress to make a case for the use of a name considered by some to be derogatory or a racial slur aimed at Native Americans. In his June 5 letter, Goodell characterized the name as the embodiment of "strength, courage, pride and respect."
Saying Redskins was never meant to denigrate or offend any group, Goodell explained the origin of the nickname and that it had a positive meaning among fans.
Goodell cited public polls that showed support for the Redskins and mentioned the historical context from which the name evolved (the franchise began as the Boston Braves in 1932), writing that it's "distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context."
---The Saints initially thought they dodged a bullet during Tuesday's workout when outside linebacker Victor Butler and running back Mark Ingram "banged knees." As it turns out, the defensive depth chart took a direct hit.
An MRI exam revealed Wednesday that Butler has significant ligament damage and likely suffered a torn ACL, according to multiple reports.
Coach Sean Payton said after the workout that he thought Butler would be fine. Butler played as a backup the past four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, but was in line to play a more significant role in the Saints' new-look defense.
Butler had been working with the first-team defense at strong-side linebacker. Butler has been competing at that spot with third-year pro Martez Wilson, who will be asked to do a lot of pass-rushing along with some pass coverage duties against the stellar collection of tight ends in the NFC South.
---Coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday afternoon the Washington Redskins wouldn't let wide receiver Donte Stallworth out of team headquarters before he signed a contract.
Hours later, the team announced a deal was done.
Stallworth, 32, played for the Redskins in 2011, and was invited to the three-day minicamp completed Wednesday on a tryout basis. He played in only one game in 2012 with the Patriots and survived a near-death hot-air balloon accident in the offseason. Stallworth and his girlfriend were severely burned when their balloon struck power lines.
"Ten years of playing professional football and I never been carted off the field," he said. "And I've never even been helped off the field. If I had a knee injury, I was able to get up and walk away on my own. And I go on a hot air balloon, something that seems very peaceful for two hours, and I'm getting airlifted to a hospital, life on the line."
Stallworth had burns to his arm and posterior, but said he's fully recovered. Shanahan said after Tuesday's practice that Stallworth "impressed."