Marion Barry calls Redskins name ‘despicable’

(James M. Thresher/The Washington Post) (James M. Thresher/The Washington Post)

There’s no reason that I decided to do a Marion Barry-Redskins item here, immediately after that Rob Ford-Redskins item. I mean, there was absolutely no symmetry whatsoever, no link between the two items, no sly wink at the heavens for offering up this opportunity.

As you know, the D.C. Council overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the Redskins to change their name on Tuesday.


As you also know, it’s an entirely symbolic effort, and yet the Redskins nevertheless urged D.C. residents to lobby their Council members to vote against the resolution.

Barry, as a council member, was interviewed by at least two local TV stations in advance of the vote, and in both cases he came out against the name, rather strongly.

“It’s a very serious resolution,” he told Fox 5. “Many of us for some time thought it was despicable that you would have some team called the Redskins. It’s an affront to the Native Americans. It’s an affront to ALL Americans — it ought to be.”

“I love the Redskins,” he told NBC Washington. “I was pushing for them [Sunday], but this is too serious. Snyder ought to be ashamed of himself.”

Barry has been on this side of the argument for years; he called the name “degrading and disrespectful” back in 2009, for example.

Meanwhile, the council members have some support from their counterparts in Minneapolis, where the Redskins will play on Thursday night. Via Minnesota Public Radio:

Six Minneapolis City Council members told the NFL and the owner of the Washington, DC franchise they disapprove of the team’s name and the mascot.  The letter dated Nov. 4, comes days before the Vikings play the Redskins at the Metrodome on Thursday.

Council members Cam Gordon, Robert Lilligren, Lisa Goodman, Elizabeth Glidden, Gary Schiff and Betsy Hodges wrote the open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

In it, they call the team name offensive as “a reference to indigenous peoples in Minneapolis”.

“We join those Minnesota residents who will be protesting outside Mall of America Field in condemning the racism inherent in the ‘Redskins’ name,” the letter reads. “We call on the owners of the franchise to change the team’s name, and on the National Football League to take the necessary actions to convince the franchise owners to change the name.”

Finally, reader @PReynolds76 points out that the top entry on Merriam-Webster’s “Trend Watch” is, you guessed it, Redskin.

“Lookups spiked on October 31, 2013,” the site reported.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.



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Sarah Kogod · November 5, 2013

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