As we know, the name Washington Redskins is a controversial one, even if the vast majority of Americans are not offended by it right now. Washington D.C. Council Member David Grosso [I-At Large] is introducing a non-binding resolution calling on the Redskins to change their name to the Washington Redtails because he believes Redskins is "derogatory" and "racist."
“It’s been a long time that we’ve had this name associated with Washington, and I think its time we take a stand and change it,” Grosso said.
Grosso is circulating his resolution to other council members to try to get co-sponsors. So far, he said, council members Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) have agreed to sign on to it.
According to Grosso’s resolution, which he said he plans to formally introduce in a few weeks, the 13-member council would declare that “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.”
“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.”
I have no doubt Mr Grosso means well, in general, and is genuine in his dislike for the Redskins name and desire to see it changed, however this smells like a public relations gambit to me. [Grosso probably just doubled his name recognition among his own constituents.] However, it wouldn't hurt the cause of these elected officials if they had the courage of their convictions. Mayor Vincent Gray, who has also said he wants the name changed, is frequently seen in the luxury suites at FedEx Field during Redskins games and Mr Grosso admits he will continue to see games in person. While I -- and the Redskins, I'm sure -- appreciate their devotion to the team, it doesn't help Mr Grosso's cause that he thinks the name is an outrage but he can't bring himself to boycott the source of the outrage.
If Dan Snyder offered to bring the team back to Washington, D.C. as soon as possible, the mayor and the City Council would fall all over themselves to make it happen -- even if Snyder told them that the name Redskins was coming with the rest of the team.
As I have noted elsewhere, I do not approve of the name and would like to see it changed, but antics such as Mr Grosso's non-binding resolution are doing nothing to accomplish that laudable goal. He's just chasing publicity and while that might be standard operationg procedure for virtually all politicians, it is worth pointing out that Mr Grosso has not offered a real solution to the problem. I mean -- Redtails? I have as much respect for the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airman -- the first African-American military pilots in U.S. history -- as anyone, but what do they have to do with Washington, D.C. If the name change was proposed for a team in Alabama -- where Tuskegee is located -- I could understand it. But the Redskins play games in suburban Maryland, train in suburban Virginia and the name attached to the team is Washington.
The Redtails flew bravely over Europe, but that name won't fly in D.C.