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Officials: Washington Football Team Can’t Move to RFK Site Without Name Change

The Washington NFL team has looked toward the site of its old RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., as a potential spot for its new home after two-plus decades in FedExField, but the federally owned site will apparently be unavailable unless the team name is changed.

Per Liz Clarke of the Washington Post, D.C. House of Representatives delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio and Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, the chairperson of the House Natural Resources Committee, all stand against the team moving to the old RFK site unless the team takes on a new moniker.

“There is no viable path, locally or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without first changing the team name,” Falcicchio said.

The issue has been prevalent before the politicians made public comments to Clarke. Of note, Robert McCartney of the Washington Post wrote in February that “a stubborn Congress is refusing to give the District long-term access to the land, partly because some influential members don’t like the team name.”

With that in mind, team owner Daniel Snyder has reportedly looked toward the Maryland and Virginia suburbs for a new home, with the front-runner a new stadium where the current one stands in Landover, Maryland, per McCartney.

Clarke reported on alternate sites as well, writing that Maryland’s National Harbor or Virginia’s Dulles corridor are possibilities, although the old RFK site is still the No. 1 choice.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has supported the team’s desire to move back into the District, saying during the team’s 2018 preseason luncheon to “Bring it home!” in reference to those efforts, per Clarke.

But Mayor Bowser said on The Doc & Galdi Show (h/t Alan Lepore of Sports Illustrated) that she wants to see the name changed.

“I think it’s past time for the team to deal with [the team name] offends so many people,” Bowser said in June. “This is a great franchise with a great history, that’s beloved in history and it deserves a name that reflects the affection that we feel for the team.”

The Washington NFL franchise has been in existence since 1932. The team played its last game at RFK in 1996 before moving to FedEx Field the following year.

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