News & Politics

DC City Council Member Asks Dan Snyder for Meeting to Discuss ‘Racist’ Team Name

David Grosso proposed changing the oft-contested name of the Washington Redskins.

At-large DC City Council member David Grosso, an Independent, made a splash earlier this week when he announced plans to introduce a non-binding resolution calling on Redskins owner Dan Snyder to scrap the team’s moniker, which critics have long considered an offensive racial slur. As a replacement, Grosso suggested the Washington Redtails—a reference the Tuskegee Airmen, a celebrated team of African-American pilots who served during World War II.

Grosso formally introduced the resolution on Wednesday. It states that the DC Council “is empowered to educate, inform, and counsel team owner Dan Snyder, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, the National Football League Partnership and its Partners, of their unacknowledged duty to accept national standards and change the name both for the sake of decency, and to rectify this ongoing insult to America’s First Nations, to the District, and to the memory of President Washington.” 

In addition, Grosso sent the following letter to Snyder regarding his actions:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mr. Dan Snyder

Principal Owner

Washington Football Club

21300 Redskins Park Drive

Ashburn, Virginia 20147

Dear Mr. Snyder:

I am sure that you are aware of the resolution
I introduced at the D.C. Council requesting that you change the name of the Washington Redskins. I support changing the name because the name “Redskins” is historically racist and derogatory. I hope that you can be persuaded to take a strong principled stance on this matter and change the name. While you are considering this idea I would like to sit down with you to discuss why I think it is important to change the name.

The purpose of the meeting would be to share the perspective of the majority of the D.C. Council as to why a name change would be appropriate. I am aware of the past position taken by the team, but would like to discuss other possibilities directly with you. As a native Washingtonian and lifelong fan of the Washington Football Club, I feel that we can work together to come to a positive solution.

Thank you for considering my request and I look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions you can contact me at or (202) 724-8105. In addition, my Chief of Staff, Aaron Pritchard can be reached at or at (202) 724-8105.

Councilmember David Grosso

In an interview Friday, Grosso said he had not heard back from Snyder, nor does he expect to. “Their level or respect for our body is probably not that high,” he says.

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.