Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Sunday that Redskins owner Dan Snyder should think about giving his football team a new name.
"I think it should strongly be considered," Johnson, a former NBA point guard, said on "NBC's Meet the Press." "I think the Native American community and many others feel that's not the right name going forward, and I think the NBA set a great example that you can act swiftly and decisively."
Johnson wasn't the first political figure to suggest that Snyder should take a cue from the NBA, which quickly moved to ban Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life after his racist comments came to light. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor to argue that Washington needs a team name that doesn't denigrate Native Americans.
"I wonder today ... how the leadership of the National Football League, the NFL, that money-making machine -- I wonder if they have taken notice of the NBA's decisive action," Reid said. "How long will the NFL continue to do nothing, zero, as one of its teams bears a name that inflicts so much pain on Native Americans?
"Tradition? What tradition?" Reid went on. "A tradition of racism is all that name leaves in its wake. Mr. Snyder knows that in sports, the only tradition that matters is winning."
Snyder has said emphatically that he won't change the team name, once telling USA Today that the paper could quote him on the matter in capital letters. Under mounting pressure, however, Snyder has tried to show his concern for the Native American community, recently launching a charity organization for the community's benefit.