"Its origin is hated, use is hated, it was the name our people -- that was used against our people when we were forced off our lands at gunpoint. It was a name that was used when our children were forced out of our homes and into boarding schools," he said. "So, it has a sordid history. And it's time for a change, and we hope that -- and what's great is when enough people do recognize that, change will come."
Fans are sharply divided about the issue.
A non-scientific online poll by the Washington Post shows 43% saying the team should change its name. But 57% say no, keep it. One respondent said the term is "a racist holdover from another day, a time when Indians were depicted as violent, ignorant, savages (by) whites (who largely were equally violent, ignorant and savage)."
But another respondent referred to political correctness and said: "The liberal PC society has gotten out of control, if you don't like the teams name THEN DON'T WATCH THEM...!"
Redskins attorney Lanny Davis said the mascot is "not about race, not about disrespect."
At games, he joins fans in singing "Hail to the Redskins" because "it's a song of honor, it's a song of tribute."