If Dan Snyder wants to move his team back from Maryland and into the District of Columbia, the Obama Administration says it should change its name first.
The Washington Post reports that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser that the National Park Service won’t accommodate construction of a new stadium on the site of the team’s old venue, RFK Stadium, unless the team changes its name.
Mayor Bowser wants to bring the team back to D.C., and Snyder has indicated that he’d like such a move as well. But Jewell, who as Secretary of the Interior oversees the federal land, has said that calling a team the “Redskins” is no more appropriate than calling a team the “Blackskins,” “Brownskins” or “Whiteskins,” and as a result the federal government couldn’t support such a move.
This is not the first time the federal government has pressured the team. In 1961, when Washington was the NFL’s last all-white team, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy told owner George Preston Marshall that the federal government would revoke his lease on D.C. Stadium unless he signed a black player. Marshall acquiesced and was allowed to keep his team at the site that now bears Kennedy’s name.