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"Redskins" Bill Advances In California Legislature

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Asm. Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) authored the bill that would phase out the use of the nickname "Redskins" by California public school athletic teams.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Sports teams using the nickname “Redskins” are coming under increased pressure nationally to abandon the name. A bill at the state Capitol would make California the first state to ban public schools from using “Redskins” as their nickname or mascot.

The NFL’s Washington Redskins are the most prominent sports team with the nickname that Native Americans say is offensive. But they’re not alone. Public schools in many states have Redskins mascots. All face growing pressure to change their names.

This bill would apply to four California high schools in the Central Valley, including Tulare and Calaveras. It would phase out the use of the term “Redskins” at those schools starting 2017 – though the schools could continue using previously-purchased uniforms if they change their name. That provision would help schools avoid having to spend thousands of dollars on new gear.

The measure just passed its first state Senate committee. The Assembly approved the measure earlier this year.

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Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio