Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on the NFL’s Washington Redskins on Tuesday to change their name after the team shared a social media post in solidarity with nationwide protests against police brutality.
The Redskins were one of several sports franchises to share a black square on their social media accounts as part of the “#BlackoutTuesday” campaign, which called attention to racial injustice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last week. In response, Ocasio-Cortez called attention to the franchise’s refusal to change its team name and logo despite allegations that it is racist toward Native Americans.
“Want to really stand for racial justice? Change your name,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.
A team spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet.
Various Native American groups have staged protests against the team name in recent years. Team owner Dan Snyder has maintained that he has no intention to ever change the name.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in January 2018 that a name and logo change was unlikely to occur.
“I don’t see them changing that perspective,” Goodell said at the time.
Instances of racial injustice in society have received renewed scrutiny in recent days following Floyd’s death. A bystander video showed a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for several minutes prior to his death. Chauvin was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
A number of NFL teams and prominent team executives have released states condemning the Floyd killing and calling for systemic change. Goodell said Floyd’s death highlighted an “urgent need for action” to address racial injustice.