If a D.C. Council member gets his way, the NFL's Washington Redskins may soon be the Washington Redtails.
Councilman David Grosso, elected last year, is preparing a resolution, albeit a non-binding one, that would call on owner Daniel Snyder and his Washington NFL team to change its name to the Redtails. If the name Redtails sounds familiar–and hopefully it does–its because the Tuskegee Airmen used that nickname. The Tuskegee Airmen were the pioneering airmen who broke the color barrier for U.S. pilots during World War II. A plane used by the Tuskegees was recently put in a place of honor in the Smithsonian.
Grosso is intent on getting his resolution introduced, formally so within a few weeks, calling the football team's currrent name "a derogatory, racist name."
“It’s been a long time that we’ve had this name associated with Washington, and I think its time we take a stand and change it,” Grosso told The Washington Post.
Pressure has risen on the club to change the name recently, in the court of public opinion, the U.S. legal system and the U.S. Congress. D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said earlier this year that the team should change its name. Grosso's resolution states:
“District residents and their elected representatives should not tolerate commercial or other use of derogatory terminology relating to any people’s racial identity, or which dishonors any person’s race, or which dishonors the name Washington.”
“Washington’s name has been dishonored by association with the word ‘Redskins,’ because it is well known in America and in nations afar that American Indians have experienced utmost suffering and disrespect over the years.”
Grosso told the Post that a change to the Redtails would be a relatively seamless.
“You can still sing the song and everything,” said Grosso, before singing, “Hail . . . to the . . . Redtails.”
Just as importantly, Grosso said, “you can still keep the feather."