News & Politics

Harry Reid Tells Redskins to Change Their Name

The Senate majority leader says Dan Snyder is "shortsighted" for ignoring calls to change the team's name.

Football critic Harry Reid. Photograph via Senate Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the latest government official to weigh in on the name of the Washington NFL team, and he’s not a fan.

“I think [Dan] Snyder is so shortsighted on this,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told The Hill.

As if getting hammered on the gridiron every week wasn’t bad enough, Washington has been dogged all year by the ongoing controversy over its nickname, which most dictionaries define as derogatory or a racial slur. While the Oneida Indian Nation of New York State has waged a season-long publicity campaign against the team’s name, the franchise has also been criticized by numerous politicians as high up as President Obama.

But unlike Obama, who said in October that if he had Snyder’s job, he would have to “think about” changing the team’s name, Reid’s take is far more cutting.

We live in a society where you can’t denigrate a race of people,” Reid told The Hill. “And that’s what that is. I mean, you can’t have the Washington Blackskins. I think it’s so shortsighted.”

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.