But York said he hasn’t spoken with anyone from the team about a new stadium.
“I would say it would be nice to be in a position to perhaps have the stadium located in Loudoun County, but there are a lot more ‘ifs, ands or buts’ that would have to go on,” he said. “So it’s really kind of an interesting discussion, but I have not had any discussions with anyone in the Washington Redskins organization.”
One thing is for sure, however: York is not going to let the team’s name get in the way.
Like President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, York has suggested the name be changed. He just offered a different sort of replacement than they might come up with.
“We support the ownership to make the decision about what the team’s name is called,” York said. “I personally don’t find what they’re saying is derogatory at all. But we have extended the invitation to the Redskins to change their name to Loudoun Redskins if they wish.”
York said the term “Redskins,” which many Native Americans consider offensive, fits with Loudoun’s history as a home to Native American tribes.
“We do have historically — in Loudoun County there have been, in the early early, early years of Loudoun County, Indian tribes who have been here. So that heritage is a part of Loudoun.”
Ashburn is only about 35 miles from D.C., but in terms of opinions on the team’s name, it feels a whole lot more distant. Many elected leaders in the District won’t even say the name. The D.C. Council passed a resolution asking that it be changed. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who is trying to bring the team back to D.C., mostly doesn’t say the name either and says it is offensive.
But in Loudoun, the name is still everywhere. The county is already home to the team’s practice facility and headquarters — Redskins Park — as well as many of the team’s players and coaches.
Loudoun also enjoys a marketing partnership with the team. Later this year, the new Redskins Grille restaurant will open at the One Loudoun development in Ashburn.
The name became a much more tangible obstacle to the team’s efforts to return to the site of RFK stadium last week when Jewell’s staff confirmed that the secretary was unlikely to accommodate construction of a new stadium for the Redskins unless the team changes its name. Congress would also have to approve such a change.
Jewell’s stance could put Loudoun in a good position to lure the Redskins stadium, something officials there are beginning to contemplate more seriously.
Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles), who oversees economic development for the board, said he couldn’t discuss details of the stadium discussion because they’re confidential at this point.
But he was happy to drop the name.
“Loudoun County welcomes the discussion and has enjoyed a very productive relationship with the Redskins and is always looking to expand our relationship with the Redskins,” Letourneau said.
Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz