Just about everyone has been talking about whether to change the name of the Washington Redskins. Now, the issue has surfaced in the Maryland governor’s race.
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) said Wednesday night that he is “extremely sympathetic” to calls for a new team name but can see both sides of the argument.
“I do think if it offends anybody they certainly should consider changing the name,” Gansler said during a “newsmaker forum” hosted by the Baltimore Sun. He added that he likes “Bravehearts” as an alternative for the storied football franchise.
On Thursday, Gansler’s rivals for the Democratic nomination issued less equivocal statements about the moniker.
“I think it’s an inappropriate name for any team, and I hope ownership will consider changing it,” said Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), who lives in Prince George’s County, where the Redskins play their home games.
Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) said she considers “Redskins” to be “offensive and culturally insensitive.”
“At this point, it’s distracting from the game and the team,” Mizeur said. “Let’s put it on the shelf with other slanderous words whose time has passed.”
A growing number of Democratic politicians, including President Obama, have joined civil rights organizations in suggesting that team owner Daniel Snyder change the name.
The office of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) did not provide an immediate response when asked Thursday for his views.
Advocates say the team’s name should be changed because “Redskins” is a racial slur offensive to many Native Americans.
In a letter to fans in October, Snyder defended the name, saying it is a “badge of honor.”
“After 81 years, the team name ‘Redskins’ continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come,” he wrote.
Gansler, a Montgomery County resident, said he’d been a Redskins fan “my whole life” but did not expect the name to endure forever. “I think it’s probably going to change,” he said at the forum. “I’m extremely sympathetic to the idea of ultimately changing the name.”