In show vote, D.C. Council urges Washington Redskins to change name
November 5th, 2013
04:05 PM ET
9 months ago

In show vote, D.C. Council urges Washington Redskins to change name

Washington (CNN) – The Council of the District of Columbia approved a measure on Tuesday that urged the Washington Redskins football team to drop the word "Redskins" from its name because it is "objectionable to many Americans who consider it to be racist and derogatory."

Ten of the 13 council members voted yes, two were not in attendance and one - Yvette Alexander - voted present. Not a single vote against the measure was cast.

The measure is largely a show vote, however, because the council cannot force the team to change its name. What's more, the Redskins practice in Virginia and games are played in Maryland, although the team is associated with Washington, D.C.

Councilmember David Grosso had originally pushed a more strongly worded measure on May 1, 2013, but was rebuffed by members of the council. A slightly scaled-back version of the measure - the one that passed Tuesday - was then introduced.

Grosso's original plan had suggested the name "Redtails" in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, but the latest bill suggests no replacement name.

Before the vote, Grosso called the name "racist and derogatory."

"Native Americans throughout the country consider the term 'redskin' a racially derogatory slur akin to the 'N-word' among African-Americans or the 'W-word' among Latinos," Grosso said in a speech. "Enough is enough."

A Washington Post poll in June found that, despite outrage among politicians, the name has the broad support of Washington residents and Redskins fans.

The Post poll found that 61% of Washingtonians like the team name and two-thirds said the team should not change it. The poll also found that nearly eight in 10 self-described Redskins fans said the team should keep the name.

"As a lifelong fan of the Washington football team, I do not care what the polls indicate," Grosso said before the vote. "A name change will not in any way jeopardize the loyalty that the fans have for this team."

Grosso also lashed out at the Post before the vote, stating that he thinks "it would be a huge statement" to Dan Snyder, the team's owner, "if the Washington Post stopped using the name."

The Redskins name has come under fire for the past few months.

Members of Congress have pressured the team to stop using the name and representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation met last month in New York with executives from the National Football League.

Snyder has remained defiant, however, describing the name as a "badge of honor."

"After 81 years, the team name 'Redskins' continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come," he wrote in a letter on the team's website.

The team has gone on the offensive, asking fans to contact the D.C. Council in support of the name and dedicating a part of its website to defend the name as part of the team's heritage.

"Our past isn't just where we came from," reads the website. "It's who we are."

– CNN's Steve Almasy contributed to this report.


Filed under: Washington D.C.
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    So what? they were called redskins because that way (Being a lot smarter than the White man) they would not be bothered by black flies and other flying bugs since the red mud offered some protection since the bugs couldn't smell them.
    On the other hand the fearless white man went around stinking to high heaven and in consequence got bitten all the time.
    Point is The name 'Redskins' is a badge of honor not a slur. Stupid loonies in DC.

    November 5, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  2. sonnie 2

    political correctness is a doctrine which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end. It is a minority that is moaning and complaining for the change. As we should not try to change every one else's life for the benefit of a few. Go Red Skins.

    November 5, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. sohnia

    Then change Raiders. .Vikings.. Cowboys.. Chiefs.. because im sure some human somewhere is offended by the acts these "glorified" groups imposed!
    Get off of the November hype and focus my tax dollars on ways to help single working mothers in this effed up economy !

    November 5, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Juan Carlos

    They should change the name. Might I suggest: "D.C. Redskins"

    I always get confused and think they play in Seattle. This would really clear things up for all of us who're a bit confused.

    November 5, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  5. Liz the First

    If Native Americans were offended, i'd say change it. but 90% of them couldn't care less, and their opinion is the only one that should matter here, so leave it alone.

    November 5, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Do any Native Americans own NFL franchises ?

    Why don't we ask the Native American council how they feel , if they find it offensive or demeaning .

    I find it sad when predominately caucasian's are deciding what is racist or not in regards to Native Americans.

    November 5, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  7. Rex Norris

    This is such a joke,, my thought is this!! Forget DC and just move the team out of DC, take away the revenue the team brings to the area, let the council then realize what a bunch of crack heads they really are! I am from West Virginia, and hey you know if these native americans are so upset, than I am upset to, let's get the WVU Mountaineers to change that name! Doesn't that stereotype some, I'm no Mountianeer,, it is a slur against me!! Grow up america, let's get concerned about what really needs attention, the homelss, the millions sucking off SSI,, wake up!! By the way, I love the REDSKINS and always will!

    November 5, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
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