Pol calls for Redskins name change

  • ESPN.com news services | May 1, 2013

A member of the Washington D.C. Council said he plans to submit a resolution calling on the Washington Redskins to change their nickname because it is "racist and derogatory" and "it's time to make a change."

David Grosso suggested the team change its name to "Redtails" in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, a pioneering group of African-American pilots who served the United States in World War II.

"You can still sing the song and everything," Grosso, told The Washington Post and then sang, "Hail ... to the ... Redtails."

Grosso said, however, that Redtails was just a suggestion.

"I just don't want it to be offensive, and at the end, what I'd love to call them is world champions," he said, according to Washington Examiner.

Grosso told the Post that two other members of the 13-person council have agreed to sign the resolution, which would be nonbinding. The Examiner reported that at least eight members of the council support it.

"We have to change it, and I'm calling on [owner] Dan Snyder and the NFL to step up and do the right thing," Grosso said, according to the Examiner.

The Redskins' nickname is currently being challenged before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in a case filed by a group of five Native Americans aged between 18 and 24 in 2006. A hearing in the case was held in March.

The group of five Native American petitioners has to show that the name "Washington Redskins" was disparaging to a significant population of American Indians back when the team was granted the trademarks from 1967 to 1990.

The board can't stop the Redskins from using the name, but the loss of trademark protection would hurt the team financially from a marketing perspective, enough, the plaintiffs hope, for Snyder to consider a change.

There won't be a resolution in the trademark case any time soon. Lawyers said they expect the judges to take as long as a year to issue a ruling, and the Redskins are sure to appeal if it doesn't go their way. A similar case, ultimately won by the team, was filed in 1992 and needed 17 years to go through the legal system before the Supreme Court declined to intervene.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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