Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, who says he is “seriously considering” a presidential bid, weighed in on a controversial national issue on Tuesday.
“I was asked earlier today and answered that I do believe it is probably time for the Washington Redskins to change their team name,” O’Malley wrote on his Facebook page.
He continued the thread on Twitter:
O’Malley’s statement came just a day after he reiterated his interest in running for the White House in 2016. O’Malley polls poorly among potential 2016 Democrats, as the base is far more fired up over the prospect of a Hillary Clinton candidacy.
While the Redskins are officially Washington, D.C.’s team, their stadium is in Maryland, and O’Malley may be trying to appeal to progressives and raise his national profile by speaking out on the hot-button issue. The governor also made an appearance at the Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention last month. Iowa holds the nation’s first caucuses, which kick off the presidential nominating process.
Controversy over the team’s name grew during the 2013 football season, with Native Americans, President Barack Obama and the United Church of Christ calling on the NFL team to rename the team. Redskins owner Dan Snyder has said he will “never” change the team name.
Pressure on the team intensified after the NBA banned and fined Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for a racist rant. In May, dozens of U.S. senators—but no Republicans—wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, asking the league to urge the team to change their name.
“We urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA did: that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports. It’s time for the NFL to endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C., football team,” the senators wrote in the letter.