Though the Washington Redskins play for a city on the opposite coast, California lawmakers voted Monday to urge that the National Football League team change its name because it is “believed by some to be a racial slur and to promote discrimination against Native Americans.”
The vote was a lopsided 51-4 in the State Assembly, with only four Republicans voting against the bill, including former gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly.
The name of the football team had been seen as relatively uncontroversial until several months ago, when it suddenly became an obsession for Democratic Party politicians.
President Barack Obama himself urged that the name be changed, as did Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Attorney General Eric Holder, among others. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also ruled against the Redskins, finding that the name was offensive.
The team’s owner, Dan Snyder, has resisted any change. Nevertheless, the California State Assembly urged him to relent.
Noting that “‘Indian’ sports brands used by professional teams were born in an era when racism and bigotry were deemed acceptable,” the legislature called upon “the owners of [the three] NFL teams based in California to urge the Washington, D.C. NFL team owner Dan Snyder” to “change the team mascot.”
Donnelly complained that the legislature was wasting time on an issue that does not affect Californians while there are more pressing priorities, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In a related vote, the State Assembly also passed a bill that prohibits the Battle Flag of the Confederacy or other Confederate symbols from being displayed or sold on state property–with some exceptions for books, museums, and online media.