RICHMOND, Va. – Three Virginia lawmakers have formed the “Redskins Pride Caucus” in an effort to help Washington Redskins keep the nickname some people deem offensive.
One of the caucus’ stated goals is to prevent the U.S. Congress from forcing change upon the NFL team.
State Senator Chap Petersen (D- FAIRFAX), Delegate Jackson Miller (R – MANASSAS) and Delegate David Ramadan (R – LOUDON) called a 3:30 p.m. press conference to discuss the newly formed, bipartisan group.
Earlier Monday the Redskins Pride Caucus, or RPC, announced its founding principles:
- Providing a voice for Redskins fans and season tickets holders.
- Supporting the Redskins franchise, a Virginia-based business that generates hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable revenue for schools, roads, public safety and other important public services in the Commonwealth.
- Opposing the inappropriate involvement of the United States Congress in issues surrounding the Redskins franchise and its supporters.
- Supporting commercial freedom in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the rights of businesses to their own brands and intellectual property.
While Washington is in the team name and the team plays home football games in Maryland, the Washington Redskins are headquartered in Northern Virginia and recently moved training camp to Richmond.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Patent Office canceled six trademarks belonging to the Washington Redskins football team, saying they are offensive to Native Americans.
In a statement put out by the team, its trademark attorney said he believed this decision, like the previous one, would be overturned.
“We’ve seen this story before,” attorney Bob Raskopf, said. “And just like last time, today’s ruling will have no effect at all on the team’s ownership of and right to use the Redskins name and logo.”
He said the team would appeal.
In October 2013, President Obama said he would be open to changing the name if he owned the team.
“I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real, legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” he said.
“It truly is political correctness on steroids,” Delegate Miller told those gathered Monday.
In attendance at the press conference were members of the Washington Redskins PR team.
“This is a movement created by a rich member of the Uintah tribe up in connecticut who is funding it and promoting it,” Miller added.
Senator Petersen, who fought against offensive language in Virginia textbooks last session, told those gathered he was not being hypocritical for standing by the current name.
“I think native Americans call themselves Redskins,” Petersen said.
Senator Louise Lucas, whose nephew is DeAngelo Hall, rejected that African Africans should somehow be compelled to sympathize with the critics.
“None of us feel there is any racism and we love the name,” Lucas said.
While a majority of Redskins fans support the name according to a Washington Post poll, some — like Genada Davis – say enough is enough and says a name change is in order.
“I can definitely understand why it would be offensive,” Davis, an African American woman, said.
“I would still route for them if they change their name,” Davis added.