Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the chorus of political leaders speaking out against the name of Washington’s professional football team Tuesday, calling the team’s continued use of its “Redskins” moniker “insensitive” during an interview with Fusion TV’s Jorge Ramos.
“I think it’s insensitive,” Clinton said in the interview that will air Tuesday night. “And I think that there’s no reason for it to continue as the name of a team in our nation’s capital. I would love to see the owners think hard about what they could substitute.”
“I haven’t though a lot about that,” Clinton said when Ramos asked if she had any suggestions for a new name.
Clinton, who is considering a run for president in 2016, joined a growing list of political officials that have spoken out against the name in the last year, including President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Attorney General Eric Holder. Reid and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the former chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, led 50 members of the Senate in sending a letter to the NFL and Washington owner Daniel Snyder calling for a change. The co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus, Reps. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Tom Cole (R-OK), have long opposed the name and organized a letter to the NFL and Snyder in June 2013.
Native American groups have challenged the name for more than 50 years. The National Congress of American Indians, the largest Native American organization in America, and the Oneida Indian Nation of New York ramped up their Change The Mascot campaign last year, running radio ads, writing letters to team, and targeting the organization’s sponsors. The groups promise that their fight is now a “permanent campaign,” though Snyder said in May 2013 that he would “NEVER” change the name that has existed since 1933.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in June canceled the team’s federal trademark protections, ruling that the term is “disparaging to Native Americans.”