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Is Cantwell bullying the NFL over Redskins name?

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., pictures here with Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Is Washington’s junior Senator Maria Cantwell planning to use the power of the IRS against the Washington Redskins?

That’s what David Boze was wondering after reviewing a letter Cantwell wrote the NFL team.

Cantwell’s letter, which was co-signed by Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole, told NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that the league is “on the wrong side of history” in allowing the team to keep the Redskins name.

The letter also mentions the NFL’s tax-exempt status.

“The National Football League can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” reads the letter.

“One of the arguments is, this is a specific reference to skin color – which is true. The question is, is it derogatory? Are you trying to dehumanize and say that somehow the red skin is supposed to reflect a nonhuman quality? No. You look at the mascot of the Redskins, and the mascot is an honorable chief or warrior. I’m not sure on the tribe, but he’s an honorable warrior,” Boze said.

According to ESPN, Cantwell would “definitely” apply pressure to the NFL by scrutinizing its tax-exempt status. Cantwell is chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

“Clearly, there’s going to be focus on pressuring them and the NFL,” Boze said. “It’s this political bullying crock here, whether you like the name Redskins or not.

“Let’s not have politicians bullying people to change their names, or we’re going to go after your tax-exempt status. Let’s have rule of law here.”

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