Assembly urges Washington Redskins to ditch ‘degrading’ name

Dan Snyder
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, shown in 2010, has vowed never to change the name of his team.
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Add one more to the growing list of those who want the Washington Redskins football team to adopt a new name: the California Assembly.

The Assembly approved a resolution Wednesday urging the National Football League to pressure the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, to change the name and mascot. The measure is meant to express the opinion of the Legislature and does not have the force of law.

Controversy over the team name has been steadily building. This summer, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decided to take away the team’s trademark registration because it considrered the name and logo to be disparaging to Native Americans. The team filed suit last week appealing the decision.

“The name used by the Washington team is widely recognized as a racial slur and promotes discrimination against Native Americans,” said Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), a co-author of the measure.


Noting that more than 700,000 Californians identify themselves as Native American, Alejo said his resolution “acknowledges the indignity that many of these individuals feel as a result of this disparaging mascot and asks those in power to make the proper change.”

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks), the former GOP gubernatorial candidate, spoke in opposition to the measure, arguing it was a waste of the Assembly’s time.

“For us to stand here and debate the names of football teams -- so that we as Americans who treasure freedom of speech cannot be offended -- is offensive,” Donnelly said.

The Assembly approved the measure, ACR 168, on a 49-5 vote. The measure now goes to the Senate.



Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.

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