Norton Tells Washington Football Team Owner, Dan Snyder, Changing Racist Team Name is Past Due
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today called on the owner of the National Football League’s (NFL) Washington team, Daniel Snyder, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to change the team’s racist name, an issue she has long pressed.
“I again call on Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington football team and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to recognize this historic moment and change the offensive, racist name of the team,” Norton said. “The name has cost Snyder far more than it could possibly be worth. The racist name stands in the way of the team playing in the nation’s capital at the RFK Stadium site, Snyder’s preferred venue. My bill (H.R. 1883) would allow the District of Columbia to buy the RFK Stadium site, which is federally owned. However, the Congress has been clear it will not approve the bill to sell this site to the District as long as there is a chance the Washington football team, with its current name, would use the site. Today’s climate to strip the nation of its racism not only guarantees no change in the opposition of the Congress. It deepens contempt for the name in Congress. At the same time, the uproar that is fast compelling owners and parties of all descriptions to update their views and practices offers the same possibility to Snyder and Goodell and surely signals that the Washington football team name has no future in the District. Any team associated with the nation’s capital should elicit pride, not a recoil of disgust. In 2020, it is beyond time for Snyder and Goodell to stop treating Native Americans derisively and create a name that all can unite behind.”
Norton’s bill, the RFK Memorial Stadium Campus Conveyance Act (H.R. 1883), would sell the RFK stadium site, unused federal land, to the District for fair market value. Currently, the RFK stadium site, which is 190 acres, is the largest track of unused land in the District.
Norton, long opposed to the name of the Washington football team, introduced legislation in 2015 to prohibit the NFL from receiving an exemption from federal antitrust laws as long as it allows the Washington football team name. In 2013 and 2014, Norton introduced legislation to prohibit granting tax-exempt status to professional sports leagues that promote or allow a member club or franchise connected to that league to benefit from the Washington football team name. Subsequently, the NFL voluntarily gave up its tax-exempt status.
Norton has also written directly to Snyder, Goodell, team sponsor FedEx and the 31 other NFL franchises, urging them to support a change to the name of the Washington football team.