Capitol Alert

California lawmakers vote to urge Washington Redskins name change

California lawmakers on Monday joined a national chorus urging a name change for the Washington Redskins football team.

While Redskins owner Dan Snyder has adamantly resisted such a change, offering slim odds for swift action, Native Americans and others have decried the team’s current name as an offensive racial slur. President Barack Obama has suggested a switch would be appropriate, and the U.S. Patent Office canceled the team’s trademarks for being “disparaging to Native Americans.”

Assembly members took up the campaign on Monday, passing by a 49-5 vote a resolution urging the National Football League “to adhere to the wishes of the millions of people who have joined Indian Country in urging that they change the team mascot.” California has the largest Native American population of any state.

“It’s very hurtful, it’s very hateful to native peoples of this country,” said Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville.

A handful of Republicans voted against Assembly Concurrent Resolution 168. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, called it a waste of the Legislature’s time.

“Prior to this being brought public by politicians there had never been a single complaint on record,” Donnelly said of the team name. “For us to stand here and debate the names of football teams so that we as Americans who treasure the freedom of speech can now have the right to not be offended, is offensive.”