RFK Stadium demolition plan could now hinge on NFL team’s old logo

By Rob Hotakainen | 06/14/2024 01:30 PM EDT

Montana Sen. Steve Daines says he will hold up a bill on the stadium until the football team revives a logo depicting the profile of a Native American man.

Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines sits beside a football helmet displayed on a desk during a Senate hearing.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) during a hearing in May, in which he addressed legislation to facilitate redevelopment of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Growing up in Montana, Ryan Wetzel said he always cheered for the Washington football team for one reason: His grandfather convinced the team to use its famous logo, an icon that featured the profile of a Native American man’s face adorned with two feathers in his hair.

“All we knew was it was Grandpa Blackie’s team,” said Wetzel, 43, the grandson of the late Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, who once served as chair of the Montana-based Blackfeet Tribe and as president of the National Congress of American Indians.

Seeking to honor his grandfather, Wetzel now wants the Washington Commanders and the National Football League to revive the relic of the former Redskins, which was put aside in 2020 along with a team name that many Native Americans consider a racial slur. And he’s lined up an important ally on Capitol Hill — Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines — to help him do it.


Until the logo is brought back, Daines said that he will oppose a bill that would allow the National Park Service to transfer control of the abandoned Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium to the District of Columbia.