DC Mayor Bowser calls for Redskins name change

FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2014 file photo, the Washington Redskins logo is seen on the field before an NFL football preseason game against the New England Patriots in Landover, Md. A federal judge has ordered the Patent and Trademark Office to cancel registration of the Washington Redskins' trademark, ruling that the team name may be disparaging to Native Americans. The ruling Wednesday by Judge Gerald Bruce Lee affirms an earlier finding by an administrative appeal board. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(AP/Alex Brandon)
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser stated her desire for the Washington Redskins football team to return back to the District, but under a new name.

During her appearance on the Doc & Galdi radio show on The Team 980, Bowser said that the name “Redskins” should have been changed. The term “Redskins” was a slang term used to identify Native Americans during the 18th and 19th centuries.

“I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people,” Bowser said. “This is a great franchise with a great history that is beloved in Washington and it deserves a name that is a reflection of how we feel about the team.”

When asked about bringing the Redskins back to the city, Bowser said that D.C. has the “best location” for a new stadium for the franchise on the grounds of RFK Stadium, which is set to be demolished by 2021.

The site is owned by the National Park Service and leased out to the city, which could become a problem when approving a project.

“It is an obstacle for us locally and it is an obstacle for the federal government who leases the land to us,” Bowser said.

There have been multiple attempts to bring the team back to the city but those efforts have stalled out each time.

Meanwhile, city officials have disagreements with the Redskins name. The D.C. Council voted two times, most recently in 2013, urging the team to change its name.

However, in a letter to fans published in The Washington Post before the 2013 vote, owner Daniel Synder said he would not change the name to preserve the team’s heritage.

A study from the University of California, Berkeley released in February said that the name Redskins was deemed offensive by 49% of more than 1,000 Native Americans polled.

Of those polled, 57% who strongly identify as Native American and 67% of those frequently engaged in tribal cultural practices were deeply insulted by caricatures of Native American culture in general, including the performing of the “tomahawk chop.”

As the team participated in #BlackOutTuesday to raise awareness of racial injustice on June 2, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also called for the team to change its name.

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Jose Umana

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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