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Obama suggests Redskins name change; team’s lawyer responds defiantly

President Barack Obama during his Friday interview with the Associated Press. (Charles Dharapak/AP)Sports Illustrated

President Barack Obama is the latest to weigh in on the subject of the Washington Redskins’ name. In an interview with the Associated Press on Friday, the President said that if he owned the team, a change in nickname would be considered.

“I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” Obama said, adding that team names like “Redskins” offend “a sizeable group of people.”  

Several football writers, including TheMMQB’s Peter King, have decided to avoid using the “Redskins” name altogether. Politicians have called for a name change, and opponents of the name vow to hold a protest outside the league’s fall meetings, which start Monday in the nation’s capital.

On Saturday evening, Lanny Davis, the team’s attorney, issued this statement:

“As a supporter of President Obama, I am sure the President is not aware that in the highly respected independent Annenberg Institute poll (taken in 2004) with a national sample of Native Americans, 9 out of 10 Native Americans said they were not bothered by the name the ‘Washington Redskins.’ The President made these comments to the Associated Press, but he was apparently unaware that an April 2013 AP poll showed that 8 out of 10 of all Americans in a national sample don’t think the Washington Redskins’ name should be changed.

“The Redskins respect everyone. But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks (from President Obama’s hometown), the fans love their team and its name and, like those fans, they do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group. The name ‘Washington Redskins’ is 80 years old – its history and legacy and tradition. The Redskins’ fans sing ‘Hail to the Redskins’ every Sunday as an expression of honor, not disparagement.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has established slightly different positions on the subject over time.

“The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context,” Goodell wrote in a letter to Congress in June. “For the team’s millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America’s most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

But in a more recent interview with Chad Dukes and LaVar Arrington on D.C.’s 106.7 The Fan sports-radio station, Goodell softened his stance — to a point.

“I know the team name is part of their history and tradition, and that’s something that’s important to the Redskins fans,” Goodell said last month. “And I think what we have to do, though, is we have to listen. If one person’s offended, we have to listen. And ultimately, it is Dan’s decision. But it is something that I want all of us to go out and make sure we’re listening to our fans, listening to people who have a different view, and making sure that we continue to do what’s right to make sure that team represents the strong tradition that it has for so many years.”

“Dan,” of course, is Dan Snyder, the team’s owner. Snyder has said that he will never change the team’s name — “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

http://nfl.si.com/2013/10/05/obama-suggests-redskins-name-change-teams-lawyer-responds-defiantly/

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13 Responses to Obama suggests Redskins name change; team’s lawyer responds defiantly

  1. Michael M. says:

    ROTFL These people forget that white people are called whites and black people are called blacks?

  2. diggerdan says:

    Obama is so concerned about the name of a damned football team?, I wish that he would be so concerned about getting things done and start doing his job. I guess that may be why nothing seems to be getting done in Wash……….. I suppose that obama could have just drawn up another executive order to make them change that name.

  3. Cathleen says:

    There he goes again . . . more race baiting and division. He’s the one setting the example for all this … “your racist” … nonsense.

    And you know what? People need to start feeling secure in who they are, what they are, and where they came from and stop letting name calling hurt their feelings. Grow up!! This country is becoming one huge group of kindergarteners.
    . . .

  4. # 1 NWO Hatr says:

    How about the Rougeskins?

  5. DL. says:

    I might believe Obama means well if I knew he gave a damned about Native Americans and the genocide against them. But clearly he doesn’t (heck, he doesn’t even care about his fellow blacks!)…he is a sports fan, though, and I kinda expect him to issue an EO forcing owner Dan Snyder to change the name. Thing is, Native Americans it seems (reading comments on Pro Football Talk) don’t think the name “Redskins” is offensive. Obama just wants more power is all.

  6. Yeims says:

    I think maybe Obama should change HIS name, because it doesn’t sound very American to me, at least.

  7. NC says:

    So now Barry the psychotic social anthropologist in office is trying to create social unrest now by pitting Indians and the people against each other. Doesn’t he have anything better to do with his time? I mean really. Is he that bored?

    He’s like Stewie on “The Family Guy” pitting the babies of different races against each other using racial stereotypes and then enjoying it by saying, “Now go fight each other. Go on.”

    First it was Christians pitted against Muslims
    Then it was cops against civilians
    Then it was Blacks against Whites
    Then it was Blacks against Hispanics
    Then it was Homosexuals against Heterosexuals
    Then it was Americans against Illegal Immigrants
    Now it is Native American Indians against Americans in general

    Gee, I wonder what’s next? Patriots against UN troops? Probably already happening.

    Wow! I can’t tell you how great it is to know that our NOBEL PEACE PRIZE winner is working so hard to promote PEACE. NOT!

    For someone who is supposed to support his country, he’s sure doing a piss poor job of it. Of course we all know this is not his country and he is just doing the bidding of his Communist and Zionist masters who are also not from this country.

    Boy this son of a bitch loves to play social class conflict games. And we are his test subjects/lab rats. It’s time WE THE PEOPLE do a little experimenting on our own. Like throwing that son of a bitch off the roof of the White House and see if pigs can really fly. I’ve had it with his shit.

    • Michael M. says:

      First it was Christians pitted against Muslims
      Then it was cops against civilians
      Then it was Blacks against Whites
      Then it was Blacks against Hispanics
      Then it was Homosexuals against Heterosexuals
      Then it was Americans against Illegal Immigrants
      Now it is Native American Indians against Americans in general

      You must know who pits people against each other and laughs all the way to the bank.

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