GRIDIRON LOCK: Obama Makes Case For Washington Football Team Name Change

  • Jake O'Donnell

“I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so…I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” The President said Friday during an AP interview.

Despite being as measured as you’d expect a career politician to be on a touchy subject he didn’t need to weigh in on — Obama framed the name change controversy well (we think). Is nostalgia worth the price of offending people in a way we’d normally deem reprehensible? Would you call a Native American a “Redskin” to their face? Would you let someone else do it?

[Via AP] “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team, even if they’ve had a storied history, that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”

After Rick Reilly’s recent ESPN article shed light on an under reported facet of the “Redskins” debate, the terms of the discussion became a question of whether the name was offensive in the first place. However, as Native American tribes (like New York’s Onieda Tribe) lobby in favor of a name change, pressure to act, or at least address the controversy, falls squarely on the shoulders of Washington’s finest.

[Via AP] But the president appeared to come down on the side of those who have sharply criticized the football team’s name, noting that Indians “feel pretty strongly” about mascots and team names that depict negative stereotypes about their heritage.

Probably the wrong place to go if you want to settle an contentious argument, but it’s nice to see people aren’t sweeping this discussion under the rug. Besides, Obama explicitly stated that the government should steer clear of any injunction involving the issue.