Director Spike Lee said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should pressure Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s nickname and logo.
Lee’s comments echo a renewed call for Washington to change the name in light of the nationwide protests of racial injustice. Lee made his remarks on the same day as city officials removed the statue of Redskins founding owner and segregationist George Preston Marshall on Friday.
In an interview with SiriusXM, Lee referenced the removal of Confederate leader statues as a reason the Redskins should act on changing their name.
“(Goodell) should approach (Snyder) and say if the Confederate stars and bars, good ole boys, they could do that, you gotta do something,” Lee said. “Can you imagine an NFL team called — now, people don’t get mad at me, I’m just making a point — the Chicago Chinks, The Washington Wasps, The Nevada Niggas?”
The Redskins have not commented on the recent efforts, but Snyder said in 2013 that he would “never” change the name. The team announced Saturday it was renaming a section of FedEx Field after Hall of Fame running back Bobby Mitchell, the team’s first black player, instead of Marshall.
Washington was the last NFL team to integrate, not doing so until 1962. Marshall had been resistant to having black players, but finally caved once he faced pressure from the federal government. The Kennedy administration threatened Marshall with stadium eviction as the team’s new stadium was on federal land.
Lee is among a notable group who have called on the Redskins to change their name. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and District Mayor Muriel Bowser have also done so in recent weeks.