RICHMOND, Va. -- Three Virginia state lawmakers are forming a "Redskins Pride Caucus" to defend the Washington, D.C.-based football team that's come under pressure to change its name.
Last month, 50 U.S. senators sent a letter to the NFL urging it to change the name. And the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled last week that the Redskins name is disparaging to Native Americans and that the team should be stripped of federal trademark protection. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has refused to change the name.
Fairfax Democratic Sen. Chap Petersen, Manassas Republican Delegate Jackson Miller and Loudon Republican Delegate David Ramadan scheduled a news conference Monday at the Capitol to announce the caucus' formation.
In a news release, the lawmakers say their group would support "commercial freedom" in Virginia and oppose what they call Congress' "inappropriate involvement" in issues related to the Redskins.
Patriots: First-rounder Easley inks deal
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots have signed first-round draft pick Dominique Easley.
The team chose the defensive lineman from Florida with the 29th pick early last month.
Easley can play end and tackle, but his draft prospects dropped because of two ACL knee operations. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the day Easley was drafted that the team feels he'll be all right.
Easley started 26 of 32 games during four years at Florida with 81 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks. He played just three games as a senior.
The Patriots also signed rookie free agent Chris Martin. The offensive lineman from Central Florida was signed by the Houston Texans on May 16 and released on May 27.
Cowboys: Former receiver Irvin speaks on race, Sterling
DALLAS, Texas -- Former Dallas Cowboys star Michael Irvin and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Monday said the comments made by ousted Clippers owner Donald Sterling needed to be viewed within a broader perspective of how America faces racism.
Irvin and Abdul-Jabbar spoke at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual meeting in Dallas.
The NBA has banned Sterling from the league and ordered a sale of the Clippers after a recording surfaced on which he made derogatory statements about blacks.
A discussion that began with Sterling's taped comments moved quickly to other places where sports and race have intersected, from the debate over the Washington Redskins' name to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban describing his own prejudices shortly after Sterling's comments became public.
Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time NBA champion and the NBA's all-time leading scorer, called Sterling a "racist clown," but added that he had seen sports unite people of different races and believes they still can.
"White Americans did not ever see a black American as having any value, especially heroic value, until Joe Louis beats up Max Schmeling," Abdul-Jabbar said, referring to Louis' famous 1938 knockout. "They liked that. That was pretty good. And all of a sudden they looked upon black Americans in a different way."
Irvin, the star wide receiver on three Cowboys Super Bowl teams, said America still faced "the remnants of the Donald Sterlings," but to focus on those remnants would miss a larger point (see full story).