Obama says Redskins need to consider a name change

President Barack Obama thinks the NFL's Washington Redskins should at least look at changing their...

President Barack Obama thinks the NFL's Washington Redskins should at least look at changing their name. (REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:58 PM ET

Despite widespread opposition, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder says he’ll never change his team’s name – and the NFL backs him.

To that point, a Sports Illustrated poll back in 2002 found that an overwhelming number of Native Americans (83% of those polled) agreed that professional teams – the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and ‘Skins – shouldn’t change their names.

Still, a sizeable number of Americans believe these names represent a racist segment of society and should be changed as a result.

That group includes U.S. President Barack Obama, who weighed into the debate this week in an interview with the Associated Press.

Sandwiched between questions concerning the current U.S. government shut down and Syria, Obama took a question on where he stands on U.S. sports teams using controversial nicknames.

"People get pretty attached to team names, mascots,” Obama told the AP. “I don't think there are any Redskins fans that mean offense. I've got to say that if I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team -- even if it had a storied history -- that was offending a sizeable group of people, I'd think about changing it.”

As mentioned, Snyder, who has owned the ‘Skins since 1999, told USA Today this year his club’s name will “never” change.

That propelled members of Congress to send the Redskins a letter asking them to consider a nickname change earlier this year.

“I don't want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here,” Obama said. “They love their team, and rightly so ... even though they've been having a pretty tough time this year. But I think ... all these mascots and team names related to Native Americans, Native Americans feel pretty strongly about it. And I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real, legitimate concerns that people have about these things.

“But I don't have ... a stake in this in the sense that I'm not a part owner of any football team. Maybe after I leave this.”

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell has also hinted the league and Washington D.C., where the ‘Skins play, are proud of the team’s history and aren’t considering a name change.

 


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