The Mayor is using this moment to make a civil rights stand. As has been nationally reported, she commissioned an overnight painting of a large multi-block mural "Black Lives Matter" on 16th Street just a couple of blocks away from the White House. She is correct that Native Lives Matter and that this name is offensive as revealed most recently by a survey conducted by academics of Native Americans.
The Mayor needs to be steadfast and consistent. She has wavered in the past on the name of the team and has worn the team's gear. If she remains committed, this could be the second time that the team would be pressured to enter into modern times when it comes to human rights. In the first instance, the Kennedy Administration refused to lease the land beneath what became RFK stadium to the first owner, George Preston Marshall, who refused to integrate his team until 1962. Bobby Mitchell, the Hall of Fame running back and wide receiver, was the first African-American on the team (RIP Mr. Mitchell). Mayor Bowser could use the lever of economic pressure to urge Dan Snyder to shed a dictionary defined racial slur as the name of his team.
The DC council banned chokeholds and other abusive police tactics this week. Eliminating a name that refers to the scalps of Native Americans would likewise strike a blow for freedom and civil rights.
Mayor Bowser must stand strong. The council would have her back since it passed a resolution asking Mr. Snyder to change the name. Recently, a majority of council candidates answering a RWF survey indicated that they would likewise support a resolution denying any support from the District for relocating the team to the RFK Stadium site or any other DC location unless it changed its name. Any relocation must also pass muster on a cost-benefit analysis indicating that DC residents would benefit from the relocation of the team instead of the city shelling out millions of taxpayer dollars and residents being displaced by a new or refurbished stadium.
Mr. Snyder must see the name for what it is: a symbol of genocide, not an honor. It must go like the statutes to Confederate generals and Christopher Columbus.