The Washington Redskins should change their name before being allowed back inside the District of Columbia, D.C Mayor Vincent Gray says.
For years, many have considered the NFL team's name as a slur, but the team and its owners, including current boss Dan Snyder, have resisted a change, reports The Washington Post
But Gray says if the team is serious about coming back into the city, “there's no doubt there's going to have to be a discussion about that, and of course the team is going to have to work with us around that issue.”
It wouldn't be the first time a D.C. team and its fans would have to cheer for a new name. The NBA’s Washington Bullets became the Wizards in 1997 amid growing gun violence in the nation’s capital, and Gray said other teams elsewhere have also discarded what he calls offensive names and mascots.
The Democratic mayor noted the federal government, not the District of Columbia, controls the land where the team’s former home base, RFK Stadium sits, and where the any replacement football stadium would likely go up. The team left the District for Landover, Md. In 1997 but is now trying to move back within city limits.
Gray said the Redskins name would not necessarily break the deal, but a change should be discussed. “It has become a lightning rod, and I would be love to be able to sit down with the team … and see if a change should be made,” he told the Post. “There’s a precedent for this, and I think there needs to be a dispassionate discussion about this, and do the right thing.”
Gray isn't the only one who finds the Redskins' name offensive. Some newspapers, including one in D.C., won't print the team's nickname because of perceived insults to Native Americans.
The dispute has been going on for years. In 1992, a group of Native Americans filed a disparagement lawsuit against the team. However, their lawsuit was dismissed in 2009, when the Supreme Court would not hear the case, reports the Los Angeles Times.
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