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Martin O’Malley Says the Redskins Should Change Their Name

The Maryland governor and presidential hopeful is the latest politician on the name-change bandwagon.
O'Malley, as seen in Iowa. Photograph by Flickr user Gregory Hauenstein.

Add Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to the stack of politicians who think Washington’s NFL team should be called something other than a dictionary-defined racial slur.

In an interview that’s scheduled to air tonight on millennial-themed (sigh) television channel Fusion, O’Malley tells anchor Jorge Ramos that it’s time for the team to change its name.

“We hope that in every generation we become more understanding of each other, more inclusive of each other and more respectful of the dignity of every individual and every culture, so I think it probably is time for the Redskins to change their name,” O’Malley says in the interview, which was recorded Monday. The governor, a Baltimore Ravens fan whose jurisdiction includes the stadium where Washington plays its home games, repeated his statement Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.

In denouncing the team’s name, O’Malley joins President Obama, half the US Senate, and fellow likely presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state, also speaking with Fusion’s Ramos, called the Washington team’s name “insensitive” last week. O’Malley might be catching up to the Democratic Party’s presumed 2016 front-runner, but he’s at least taking a bolder stance than Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who’s said “it’s not up to a governor to tell a business what to do.” In this case, that business is an NFL franchise with its headquarters in Loudoun County and its training camp in Richmond.

But O’Malley shouldn’t count on his statement finding friendly ears in Landover. As we noted earlier today, Washington team owner Dan Snyder is digging in harder than ever in defense of his team’s name.

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

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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.