The Washington Redskins NFL team has been looking to relocate closer to their home city of Washington, D.C., but officials there say they won’t approve any return to D.C. until the Redskins change their name and logo.
The team currently plays at FedEx Field in Maryland, accessible by the Beltway from Washington, D.C., but not within the city’s borders. The team would prefer, instead, to play in Virginia, or somewhere closer to the capital city, according to plans for a new stadium released in early 2020, per Sports Illustrated.
But Washington, D.C,’s Congresswoman, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), said Thursday that she’d block the team from relocating into the city unless they jettisoned what she believes is a racist moniker, offensive to Native Americans.
“I call on [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder once again to face that reality since he does still desperately want to be in the nation’s capital,” Holmes said, per Fox News. “He has got a problem he can’t get around — and he particularly can’t get around it today, after the George Floyd killing.”
D.C.’s Deputy Mayor agreed: “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.”
The Redskins name, of course, has been under fire for over a decade, but Snyder, who has owned the team since the late 1990s, has been adamant that the name will not change, even telling USA Today back in 2013, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of Minneapolis police, a number of corporations and brands have taken the extraordinary step of removing controversial images and names from national products, and activists seem to believe the Redskins should be next among them.
Last Friday, Forbes reports, “over 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion sent letters asking Nike, FedEx, and PepsiCo to end their financial arrangements with the NFL’s Washington Redskins based on the team’s racist name.”
As far as the team’s plans to relocate, Rep. Holmes may be pleased to know that Washington, D.C., isn’t necessarily on the table. Although the team and its ownership proposed playing some games in RFK Stadium back in 2019, the team’s plans have since changed, according to Sports Illustrated. They are now looking at two locations, one site close to Dulles Airport in Virginia, and another “with better access to the city,” but also in southern Virginia.
The team hasn’t inked any deals and could be waiting to see whether Virginia legislators ease up on threats to block state and federal funding from going towards a new football stadium. They’re also in the process of finalizing a design — one that would allow them to use the stadium year-round for events other than just NFL games.
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