News & Politics

DC Council Tells Dan Snyder to Drop “Redskins”

The Council’s resolution doesn’t really have teeth, but its supporters say it’s part of a “movement.”

Despite Dan Snyder’s last-ditch lobbying effort, the Council on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a resolution urging the franchise to adopt a moniker that is not defined as a racial slur in mainstream dictionaries.

“To argue that we should keep the name because it ‘holds memories and meaning of where we came from and who we are’ is akin to saying to the Native American people that we don’t care, your pain has less worth than our football memories,” said David Grosso, the Council member who drafted the measure.

All Council members in the chamber for the vote lent their support to Grosso’s resolution, save Yvette Alexander, who voted “present.” Vincent Orange and Marion Barry, who told NBC4 yesterday that Snyder “ought to be ashamed of himself,” were absent.

From calls to a few Council members’ offices, it appears Snyder’s plea with fans to send in messages of support for the team’s name had scant results. Grosso’s office said it received about 225 emails—about evenly split between detractors and supporters for the name—but Council Chairman Phil Mendelson’s office reported receiving only 10 phone calls on the issue.

The resolution, of course, does not have any bearing on how Snyder runs the team. But Grosso says the vote is part of a “movement.” In his statement, he praised the media that have started omitting references to the team’s name. “Although I think it would be a huge statement to Snyder if the Washington Post stopped using the name,” he said.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.