Could the Washington Redskins change their name to the Redtails? According to one Washington, D.C., council member, the capital’s NFL team currently goes by an extremely racist name, and the team should abandon it as soon as possible.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that independent D.C. council member David Grosso has plans to introduce a nonbinding resolution that would condemn the name of the Redskins as “racist and derogatory.”
Grosso has suggested the football team instead go by the name Washington Redtails.
“Washington’s name has been dishonored by association with the word ‘Redskins,’” the resolution states. “Because it is well known in America and in nations afar that American Indians have experienced utmost suffering and disrespect over the years.
"District residents and their elected representatives should not tolerate commercial or other use of derogatory terminology relating to any people’s racial identity, or which dishonors any person’s race, or which dishonors the name Washington.”
Grosso, 42, expects to bring the resolution before the D.C. Council on Wednesday. According to the Washington Post, fellow council members Muriel Bowser (D) and Kenyan McDuffie (D) have already agreed to back the measure.
Instead of using a term for Native Americans that many see as outdated and racist, the Washington, D.C., team, under Grosso’s resolution, would honor the Tuskegee Airmen, a squad of African-American fighter pilots who fought in World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were nicknamed the Redtails both during and after their service.
Grosso believes that the new name would be seamless for the team. It would fit in place of the current Redskins chant and the team could still keep relatively similar branding. Ultimately, however, Grosso just wants the name gone. He says he would accept almost any other name in place of Redskins.
Grosso is hardly the only D.C. resident who wishes that the Redskins would change their name. Another is Kevin Gover, head of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, who told CNN that the term “redskins” is extremely offensive for Native Americans.
“A good many Americans don’t know any Indians,” Gover told CNN. “The Indian you see most often in Washington, D.C., is at a football game -- at the expense of real Indians, real history, real culture. The petty stereotype has become expected.”
Nevertheless, even if Grosso’s Redskins name-change resolution passes, the plan would still need approval from Redskins management, and that seems somewhat unlikely.
Earlier in the year, the Redskins released an article attempting to justify the name by stating that many American high school teams go by the Redskins in an effort to show "pride for the Native Americans and how they lived."