Holder favors Redskins name change

Updated: July 14, 2014, 12:18 PM ET
By John Keim | ESPN.com

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined the chorus in condemning the Washington Redskins' nickname, calling it offensive and saying it should be changed.

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Terje Bendiksby/AFP/Getty ImagesUnited States Attorney General Eric Holder agrees with opponents of the Redskins' nickname, calling it "offensive" Sunday.

Holder, speaking on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, went one step further than his boss, President Barack Obama, who said in October that the Redskins should consider changing the name. Holder left no doubt where he stood.

"I'm going to speak very personally now," Holder said when asked the question. "The name ought to be changed. It's an offensive name. The Redskins, that organization is a great one. It's a team with a storied history that has huge amounts of support in Washington, D.C., and in the 21st century they could increase their fan base, increase their level of support, if they did something that from my perspective that is so obviously right."

The Redskins' nickname has been a subject of debate in the past, but it's intensified in the past 18 months led by the Oneida Indian Nation. The U.S. Patent Office recently voted 2-1 in saying the name should not be trademarked, a ruling the Redskins are contesting -- it's an issue that could take several years to resolve. Until it is, the trademark will remain.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has been adamant that he will not change the name and the NFL has not asked the team to do so, with commissioner Roger Goodell offering his support.

Sponsors have not applied any pressure, either. A recent poll by ESPN SportsNation had more than 65 percent of fans saying the name should remain. But it's an issue, and a battle, that likely isn't going away.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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