The Washington Redskins have long heard calls to change their racial slur of a name, but those calls are even louder as racial injustice takes center stage in American politics following the killing of George Floyd.
A new call came from the mayor of the city on the team’s name on Friday, with a small threat attached.
During an interview with The Team 980, District of Columbia mayor Muriel Bowser said it is “past time” for the team to change its name, and implied the name could be an obstacle if it wants to move back into D.C.
The exchange, via The Team 980:
Al Galdi: Is the name an obstacle? I know that’s come up in the past.
Bowser: It is an obstacle. It’s an obstacle for us locally but is also an obstacle for the federal government who leases the land to us.
Al Galdi: What is your stance on the name, ‘Redskins’?
Bowser: 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.
Bowser has recently made headlines by changing the name of a road outside the White House to “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” Now, she might be politically capitalizing on the opportunity for another name change.
Redskins’ name looms in discussions for new stadium
Since 1997, the Redskins have called Landover, Maryland, their home with FedEx Field after exiting D.C. and its aging RFK Stadium. With FedEx Field now somewhat aging, former team president Bruce Allen said the team could be moving to a new stadium in 2027 when its current lease is up.
Bowser has endorsed the team moving back to D.C. and using that RFK Stadium site. She has also bristled at the name in the past, calling it “offensive,” but seemed fine using it when encouraging the team to “come home.”
That enthusiasm might be changing, and could be yet another factor in the always fraught politics of a team’s search for a new stadium that involves two states and the nation’s capital.
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