Hillary Clinton became the latest Democratic politician to decide that the Washington Redskins’ team name, which has been in place since the 1930s, is offensive to American Indians.
“I think it’s insensitive and I think that there’s no reason for it to continue as the name of a team in our nation’s capital,” the former first lady said in an interview with Fusion TV. “I would love to see the owners think hard about what they could substitute.”
But Clinton, who most believe will run for president in 2016, admitted she did not have any ideas for a new name, saying it is something she had “not thought a lot about.”
With her comments, Clinton joins other Democrats such as President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in opposing calling the franchise the “Redskins.”
The name, and the team’s logo, is offensive because it stereotypes American Indians, critics say.
Last year, Obama said that if he were the team’s owner he would choose a different name. Daniel Snyder, the Redskins’ current owner, has resisted such calls.
A group of 50 senators, mostly Democrats, issued a letter to the NFL calling the name “a racial slur.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office dealt a blow to the franchise by removing its trademark protection. The move will prevent the team from stopping others from selling products with the Redskins’ logo.
Ironically, that ruling could increase the amount of merchandise in circulation depicting the logo.
Groups have pressured the Redskins and the NFL to change the team’s name for several decades. But the effort did not pick up steam until last year, when a Native American tribe from New York began focusing heavily on the issue. Before that, few politicians had complained about the name or the logo.
A review of news articles from Clinton’s time as first lady during the 1990s and her more recent stints as U.S. senator from New York and as secretary of state suggest that she has not addressed the issue in the past.