Mayor Muriel Bowser is taking an obvious stand. Not all will see it that way.
America has spent these last few weeks reckoning with a racist history that continues to reverberate in the present. The NFL has felt this energy in no uncertain terms, with an ever-increasing number of star players speaking out against systemic oppression and police brutality.
In the nation’s capital, however, there is a separate NFL topic related directly to racism that one leader won’t allow to be lost in the brouhaha: the ridiculously-named team that calls Washington home.
Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, DC, believes it’s long overdue for the Washington Redskins to change their name.
Will Washington Redskins change their name or will this go on forever?
“I think it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people,” Bowser said, via The Washington Post. “And this is a great franchise with a great history that’s beloved in Washington. And it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we’ve built for the team.”
At this point, it just feels painfully obvious that this team must not simply change, but make active and sincere amends for its decades of existence as a singular slur. A racist caricature. Unfortunately, this is far from a unanimous feeling.
On June 2, as the nation embraced “Blackout Tuesday” on social media in solidarity with our Black communities so disproportionately targeted by police violence and mistreated by the criminal justice system, the Washington Redskins had the gall to participate themselves.
Even on the NFL’s generally questionable standards, hard to imagine something more tone-deaf in the year 2020. And yet, there they were.
This team has existed for so long that it’s easy, especially for those who benefit from white privilege, to tune out the controversy. “It’s just a football team,” right? They’re casting Native Americans in a positive light by rooting for them, right? Well, no. Resoundingly, screamingly no. That’s what Bowser’s onto here, and if we really want to find a way to begin to deliver justice to the forgotten and downtrodden among us at long last, forcing Daniel Snyder either rebrand his team or sell it entirely would be the easiest of easy starts.