Hillary Clinton called the name Redskins “insensitive” in an interview with Jorge Ramos of Fusion TV. The former senator joins fifty Democrats in the upper chamber of Congress in calling for the team to ditch its 81-year-old moniker.
“I think it’s insensitive,” Clinton opined, “and I think that there’s no reason for it to continue as a name of a team in our nation’s capital.”
The former First Lady offered, “I would love to see the owners think hard about what they could substitute.” But team owner Dan Snyder has unequivocally stated that he will never change the name.
When Ramos asked for a replacement name, Clinton responded: “I haven’t thought a lot about that.”
The team’s name derives from an era when NFL teams, seeking to capitalize on the popularity of Major League Baseball, borrowed unashamedly from the local baseball teams. Playing in the home of the Boston Braves, Boston’s NFL franchise initially called themselves the “Braves” just as the Steelers initially called themselves the “Pirates” and the NFL’s short-lived Brooklyn team called themselves the “Dodgers.” When the NFL’s Boston Braves moved to Fenway Park, they kept the Native American motif while altering their name in homage to their new landlord, the Boston Red Sox. When the team moved to Washington in 1937, the “Redskins” name stuck.
If only the football team had paid deference to the baseball team in Washington as they had done in Boston, the NFL franchise would have found enthusiastic support instead of opposition from Hillary Clinton and the fifty members of Capitol Hill’s upper house 77 years later.