The overwhelming majority of the U.S. Senate’s Democratic conference signed a letter to the Washington Redskins Wednesday asking the football team to change its controversial name, but the two Democrats representing nearby Virginia abstained.
An aide close to one of those Democrats, Senator Time Kaine, told Business Insider Kaine actually supported the request to change the team’s name in spirit but had an issue with the letter’s “tone.”
“Senator Kaine has been publicly supporting a name change for months, but he had concerns about the tone of the letter sent by Senate Democrats,” the aide said Thursday morning.
The aide also pointed Business Insider to an an interview with a Charlottesville radio host, Brad Savage, where Kaine addressed the issue personally. “I’m not the owner, but if I were the owner I think I’d make the decision to find a better name,” Kaine was quoted saying.
The aide didn’t elaborate on Kaine’s exact complaint about the tone of the letter, which directly compared the infamous comments made by Los Angeles Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling to the Washington Redskins controversy.
“Today, we urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports,” the letter said, calling the name “despicable” and a “racial slur.”
The letter received mixed support among the senators in nearby states. Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner, who also declined to sign the letter, did not respond to a request for comment. However, both Maryland senators, Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, were among the 50 senators who signed the missive.
No Republican senator signed on to the letter.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.