The Washington Redskins' chances of returning to the nation's capital appeared to have been hindered by the Obama administration.
According to the Washington Post, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel E. Bowser in April that the National Park Service likely would not approve the construction of a new football stadium for the Redskins on land owned by the department unless the team changed its name.
The National Park Service owns the land under Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, which was considered a potential site for a new stadium for the Redskins.
Jessica Kershaw, a spokeswoman for the Department of the Interior, said Jewell "did mention in that meeting that she was uncomfortable with the name."
"The president has said something similar, that he is uncomfortable with the name, and she clearly clarified that position," Kershaw told the Post.
Jewell's statements echoed the same position she held during an interview with ABC News in a September: “Personally, I think we would never consider naming a team the ‘Blackskins’ or the ‘Brownskins’ or the ‘Whiteskins.’ So, personally, I find it surprising that in this day and age, the name is not different,” Jewell said.
The Redskins played at RFK Stadium (previously D.C. Stadium) from 1961-1996 before moving to FedEx Field (aka Jack Kent Cooke Stadium) in Landover, Md., in 1997. Last year, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder mentioned Washington, Maryland and Virginia as possible sites for a new stadium.
Snyder has resisted calls by Native American groups and politicians to change the franchise's name. In 2013, President Obama weighed in on the matter, saying he supported a name change.
"If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team — even if they've had a storied history — was offending a sizable group of people, I'd think about changing it," Obama told the Associated Press.