Joe Theismann 'proud' to represent Native Americans

Former Redskins QB Joe Theismann might regret saying he represented Native Americans when he donned...

Former Redskins QB Joe Theismann might regret saying he represented Native Americans when he donned the 'Skins uniform. (AFP)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:59 PM ET

Washington Redskins legend Joe Theismann is the latest high-profile voice to weigh in on his former team’s controversial name.

After U.S. president Barack Obama told the Associated Press earlier this month he thinks the ‘Skins should change their name, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback told TMZ why he thinks uproar over the name is a bit of an overreaction.

“The president has his right, just like all of us do, to be entitled to his opinions,” Theismann told TMZ. “I can just say this: I was very proud to wear the Redskins uniform and represent the Native American nations of this country as proudly as we could.”

It’s important to note that 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.

But Theismann, 64, told the gossip website that during his playing days he looked at the nickname in a much different light.

“After we won the Super Bowl I was given an Indian head dress and I was very, very honoured by that,” he said. “I was very proud to wear that uniform.

“Society is so unique today. It’s different . I think people look at things very differently. Everybody has an opinion about it. I was very proud to wear the uniform. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know where it’s going to go. It’s not something I have any control over.“

Obama steered the conversation in a much different direction, taking on Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who is adamant he’ll never change his team’s name – and the NFL backs him.

"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.”

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell has also said 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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