In an interview on “America’s Newsroom,” Norton – a non-voting member of the House of Representatives – told host Sandra Smith that the name was a racial slur and the change “should have occurred years ago.”
“Because even before the George Floyd demonstrations indicated that the nation would no longer tolerate that, we in the nation’s capital won’t tolerate it,” she said.
Washington won’t announce its new name because trademark issues are still pending.
FILE – In this Oct. 24, 2019, file photo, Native American leaders protest against the Redskins team name outside U.S. Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis. Several Native American leaders and organizations have sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling for the league to force Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team name immediately. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)
The team launched the review of the name on July 3 after prominent sponsors FedEx, Nike, PepsiCo and Bank of America asked the team to change it. FedEx holds the naming rights to the team’s Maryland stadium and CEO Fred Smith has an ownership stake in the team.
In a statement following the decision, the Navajo Nation said July 13, 2020, had become a “historic day for all Indigenous peoples around the world.”
“We strongly encourage the NFL Washington organization to rename their team in such a way that truly honors and respects the First Americans of this country,” wrote Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.
However, after 87 years under the same moniker and logo, not everyone was happy with the shift – including former players.
“Yes, it’s important to know that now that they have been forced to drop their name, and we owe that to their corporate sponsors: FedEx, Bank of America. FedEx said that they would no longer observe the naming rights that they owned,” Norton noted.
However, her work is not over. Last year, Norton filed a bill titled the “RFK Memorial Stadium Campus Conveyance Act,” which calls for the sale of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium campus to the city from the National Park Service.
The stadium is a site Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has expressed interest in during conversations about a potential move back to the District; dropping the team’s name could jumpstart a relocation.
“Once the District of Columbia gets the land, there is a serious dispute among elected officials – local officials in the District of Columbia – should the land be used for a football stadium that will use it for maybe eight games, or should it be used for, for example, affordable housing, which has virtually disappeared from the district, and other amenities?” she asked.
“So, there is yet another great divide to close before we know whether or not this team will come back or is welcome back. And then, I don’t know if it will have any home at all,” Norton concluded.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos, Paulina Dedaj, and Daniel Canova contributed to this report.