The Washington Redskins will not be able to relocate to a new stadium if they refuse to change their controversial name, according to a Washington Post report.
The team is hoping to move its home from FedExField in Maryland to DC’s RFK Stadium. And it needs to change its name that is considered offensive towards Native Americans in order to do that.
The Washington Redskins have been known with this name since 1933. They were named as the Boston Redskins previously, and the Boston Braves prior to that. The team moved to the Washington area in 1937.
“I call on Dan Snyder once again to face that reality, since he does still desperately want to be in the nation’s capital,” congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. “He has got a problem he can’t get around — and he particularly can’t get around it today, after the George Floyd killing.”
Also commenting on the issue, DC Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said “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.”
FedEx said in a statement that it had requested that the team change its name. Nike, a major sponsor, also withdrew Redskins merchandise from their website on Thursday. Aside from the two, more companies, including PepsiCo, received letters from a total of 87 investors, calling on them to cease their relationship with the team unless it gets a new name.
The National Football League (NFL) team’s derogatory name has remained problematic for years. “We’ll never change the name,” Snyder, owner of the Redskins, said in response to the debate in 2013. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
In 2014, 50 senators signed a letter asking the NFL to pressure the Redskins for a name change. The same year, the US Patent and Trademark Office revoked the trademark of the NFL’s Washington Redskins for the second time. Also former President Barack Obama said in 2013, “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team—even if it had a storied history—that was offending a sizeable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”
Another call for the name change recently came from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said during a radio show that the Redskins should have changed their name and returned to the District with a new name.
“I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people and this is a great franchise with a great history that’s beloved in Washington. And it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we’ve built for the team,” the mayor said.
“Redskin” is known as a contemptuous term used to refer to a North American Indian in the 18th and 19th centuries.