Gansler changes stance on Washington team's name

At least one issue appeared to unite three Democratic candidates for Maryland governor on Wednesday night during the first of two televised debates before the June 24 primary election.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur agreed that it's time for the Washington Redskins organization to pick a new nickname.


That was a bit of a change for Gansler, who said during a Baltimore Sun Newsmaker Forum in February, that he hadn't taken a position but was "extremely sympathetic" to the idea of changing the name.

A "lifelong Redskins fan" who has participated in Redskins pregame broadcasts on Comcast SportsNet, Gansler said Wednesday he understood why some were offended by the team's name.


"It wasn't intended as a slur, but it is," Gansler said. "We should move toward changing the name of the Redskins."

"I no longer refer to Washington's football team by its nickname," Brown said in response to a question from Washington Post reporter Jenna Johnson. "I know I believe that the fan base wants the same thing."

Mizeur, who represents part of Montgomery County in the House of Delegates, said she also thought the name should be changed, simply saying "words matter."

Even before the debate ended, Brown's campaign sent out a news release under the headline "Gansler flip-flops on Redskins name."

The release cited a May 2013  interview with WMAR-TV in which the attorney general said: "I've been a Redskins fan my whole life, I don't think there's anything disrespectful about the name. So I don't have a problem with the name."

All three candidates call the Washington, suburbs in Maryland -- Redskins country -- home. The debate was held at the University of Maryland in College Park and televised in the Baltimore and Washington markets.