For a team that hasn’t won more than 10 games in a season since George H.W. Bush was president, the Washington Redskins have a unique ability to always be in the headlines.
Just last week, Redskins defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio became persona non grata when it turned out that he had the audacity to be a supporter of President Donald Trump.
Now, however, a long-simmering and very familiar controversy has again reared its head — the team’s name.
For many people, Redskins is an innocuous pro football team moniker that dates back to 1933.
For others who are more in tune with the general woke chaos that is 2020, such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the name is the ultimate affront to Native Americans and a racist stain on the NFL.
Want to really stand for racial justice? Change your name. https://t.co/XTlIJrfNx4
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 2, 2020
Now, however, it’s not just loud Democratic congresswomen and cancel culture aficionados who are clamoring for the Redskins to change their name.
The District of Columbia itself is trying to bully the franchise into abandoning its name, according to The Washington Post.
The Redskins, who have played at the currently dilapidated FedExField in Landover, Maryland, since 1997, are seeking to move to a much snazzier stadium in D.C. proper.
Wanting to set some roots down before their new stadium is constructed, the team is looking into playing at the old RFK Stadium in the intermediary. RFK is about two miles east of the Capitol in Washington.
That would be a big boon for D.C., given that football operations typically bring with them jobs, traveling fans and a general jolt of energy.
The district’s elite, however, only want those benefits if the Redskins go by a different name.
“There is no viable path, locally or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without first changing the team name,” D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said, per The Post.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who has presided over the team since 1999, has long resisted any pressure to change the name.
“I call on Dan Snyder once again to face that reality, since he does still desperately want to be in the nation’s capital,” said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the nonvoting Democratic D.C. delegate to the House of Representatives. “He has got a problem he can’t get around — and he particularly can’t get around it today, after the George Floyd killing.”
A key Democratic congressman agreed.
“The time [for the name] has ended,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona told The Post. “There is no way to justify it. You either step into this century or you don’t. It’s up to the owner of the team to do that.”
Grijalva is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. The agency owns the land that RFK Stadium sits on, which is also the site where a fancy new Redskins stadium would be built.
It’s worth noting that despite all of this hand-wringing from the upper echelons of government, a 2016 Post poll found that 9 out of 10 Native Americans took no offense at the Redskins moniker.
To be fair, these past four years have felt like 40, and in 2020 it’s apparently offensive to be proud of the American flag, so that survey might be outdated.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.