He has yet to make the request.
Leggett spoke out in November 2013, declaring that it was important to stand with Native American activists and others who feel that the team name is a slur.
He announced that his office would refer to the Redskins as the Washington Professional Football Team in news releases and correspondence — not that there was likely to be much of either. (The team plays in Prince George’s County and is headquartered in Northern Virginia. Montgomery’s most prominent link to the Redskins is the Potomac residency of its owner, Daniel Snyder.)
Leggett also said he was prepared to ask the County Council to join D.C. lawmakers in issuing an anti-Redskins resolution. But he said that first he wanted to consult with the county’s Office of Human Rights.
Last March, Russell Campbell Sr., who chairs the county Commission on Human Rights, wrote to Leggett saying that the 15-member panel — all appointed by Leggett — did, indeed, find the name offensive. Campbell said the commission supported the idea of a council resolution.
Still, nothing happened.
Mid-March is when the county executive presents his annual budget proposal, and Leggett said in a recent interview that he didn’t want to drop the team-name issue on council members at the beginning of budget season. “I didn’t want to detract from what we were doing then,” he said.
But after the council approved the budget in mid-May, Leggett again decided to hold off — this time to avoid forcing candidates to address the issue before the June 24 primaries. “I didn’t want it to become a distraction in the midst of people running for office, so I decided just to wait.”
His current plan is to send a resolution over “probably sometime this spring.” After budget season, of course.
Leggett said he remains committed to a team name change and wants to get the council officially allied with him.
“I just think that it’s a matter of how you are projecting the image of people who think they have been marginalized or stereotyped,” he said. “Not everyone sees this as a negative slap at Native Americans, but I believe that it is.”
He added: “I love football. I’ve enjoyed what the football team has done in our community. I just think that this is not a huge ask, given how divisive this has been in our community.”
The delay has been frustrating for proponents of pressuring the team to take on a new name. Joshua Silver, a Bethesda activist who sent a 2013 e-mail to Leggett urging him to act, said that he thought the office ban was “terrific” but that he would like to Leggett follow through on the rest.
“He did the right thing, but he needs to keep going,”said Silver, who works for a housing nonprofit group. He and another name-change advocate, Ian Washburn, recently collaborated with the Oneida Indian Nation on a robo-call blitz urging fans to push the team to take a new name.
Of course, there is nothing stopping the council from acting on its own. But there does not appear to be a huge appetite for this issue among members — in part because a council debate on the matter could kindle criticism that members are wasting time dabbling in politically correct symbolism.
When Silver wrote to council member George L. Leventhal (D-At Large) in 2013 asking for his support, Leventhal responded that passage of such a resolution would be “hortatory” and “perceived by many as grandstanding.” Leventhal, now the council president, sounded no more enthusiastic when asked about the matter Tuesday.
“If and when Ike sends something over,” he said, “I’ll look at it.”