Last Updated:July 22 @ 07:58 am

Politically correct president inserts himself into Redskins controversy

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says he would "think about changing" the Washington Redskins' name if he owned the football team as he waded into the controversy involving a word many consider offensive to Native Americans.

Obama, in an interview with The Associated Press, said team names such as the Redskins offend "a sizable group of people." He said that while fans get attached to the names, nostalgia may not be a good enough reason to keep them in place.

"I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things," he said in the interview, which was conducted Friday at the White House.

An avid sports fan who roots for his hometown Chicago Bears, Obama said he doesn't think Washington football fans are purposely trying to offend American Indians. "I don't want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so," he said.

But he 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.

The team's owner, Dan Snyder has vowed to never abandon the name.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month that the league should pay attention to those offended by the name - a subtle change in position for Goodell, who had more strongly supported the name in his previous statements this year.

Lanny J. Davis, an attorney for the Redskins, said the team's fans don't intend to "disparage or disrespect" anyone.

"The name `Washington Redskins' is 80 years old. It's our history and legacy and tradition," Davis said in an emailed statement in which he also identified himself as an Obama supporter. "We Redskins fans sing `Hail to the Redskins' every Sunday as a word of honor, not disparagement."

Other professional sports teams have Indian names, including football's Kansas City Chiefs and baseball's Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. Davis referred to fans of those teams and hockey's Chicago Blackhawks in his statement, saying Redskins fans "love our team and its name and, like those fans, we do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group."

Numerous colleges and universities have changed names that reference Native Americans. St. John's changed its mascot from the Redmen to the Red Storm, Marquette is now the Golden Eagles instead of the Warriors and Stanford switched from the Indians to the Cardinal.

The Redskins' name has attracted a fresh round of controversy in recent months, with local leaders in Washington calling for a name change and some media outlets refraining from using the name. The name is the subject of a long-running legal challenge from a group of American Indians seeking to block the team from having federal trademark protection.

Congressional lawmakers have introduced a bill seeking the same goal, though it appears unlikely to pass.

"What a prudent and wise use of the bully pulpit," Suzan Shown Harjo, a plaintiff in that case, said in an interview Saturday. "I am so glad that he said that and I hope that people hear a reasoned response from the president and will pay attention to this issue."

Harjo said the issue "involves lots of hurt and pain and ongoing name-calling and bullying of our children that goes with this name. We just need to have an end to it."

"There's no such thing as a good stereotype, no matter how well-intentioned, no matter how good people feel about it," Harjo added. "It still has negative ramifications for our people."

"These are relics of the past. They should be consigned to museums and history books and people can feel good about them there," she said. "But they should not be allowed in polite society."

Opponents of the Redskins name plan to hold a symposium Monday at the Washington hotel hosting the NFL's fall meeting.

"We really appreciate the president underscoring what we've been saying," said Ray Halbritter, leader of the Oneida Indian Nation, a tribe from upstate New York that's been campaigning against the name. "There's just no place for a professional football team to be using what the dictionary defines as a racially offensive term."

Halbritter said the NFL and Snyder could "borrow a page from the president" and use a decision to change the team's name as a "teachable moment."

Despite the controversy, an AP-GfK poll conducted in April showed that, nationally, "Redskins" still enjoys wide support. Nearly 4 in 5 Americans don't think the team should change its name, the survey found. Only 11 percent think it should be changed, while 8 percent weren't sure and 2 percent didn't answer.

Obama said he doesn't have a direct stake in the Redskins debate since he's not a team owner. But he hinted that might be part of his post-White House plans.

"Maybe after I leave the presidency," he joked. "I think it would be a lot of fun."

"I'd probably look at a basketball team before I looked at a football team," said Obama, who plays basketball in his spare time, has coached his daughter's basketball team and is a fan of the NBA's Chicago Bulls. "I know more about basketball than I do about football."

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Associated Press writers Joseph White and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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33 Comments

  1. bulletfish2013Comment by bulletfish2013
    October 7, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    This while the country falls apart, Must be a really slow news day. But then they don’t report what’d really going on anyway.

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (18 votes cast)
    • NHGuyComment by NHGuy
      October 7, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

      You think all this politically correct **** about Redskins, Blackhawks, Indians, Braves, et al, is outrageous? There’s even a move afoot to have the name of “MIDGET” pickles erased from our vocabulary!

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    • cgretiredComment by cgretired
      October 8, 2013 @ 6:46 am

      Oh-bama needs to focus on the budget and the debt ceiling. If he has time to play the political-correct game, he certainly has time to meet with the powers to be and settle this darned mess.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
    • 1389ADComment by 1389AD
      October 8, 2013 @ 7:47 am

      Let’s rename the team after Obama himself: the Washington Totalitarians.

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  2. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    October 7, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

    So should we stop calling redskin peanuts by their name? They literally have a red skin, after all. Maybe if the Washington Redskins kept the name and changed their mascot to a peanut the “nuts” in DC would be happy. No, on second thought, nothing makes them happy. They would simply find something else to be offended about. That seems to be their goal in life.

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (25 votes cast)
    • wumingrenComment by wumingren
      October 7, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

      You beat me to the concept. I was going to say that they could change their mascot to a redskin potato, and then they could pay homage to their fans at home, who are couch potatoes veggin’ out in front of a big screen TV. I do like your mascot more, because the people in D.C. are nuts.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (12 votes cast)
    • bf39Comment by bf39
      October 7, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

      I have Native American blood running thru my vains. I don’t see anything wrong with the name of the Washington Redskins team!
      All they want to do is keep the racial issue up front. STUPID!

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (15 votes cast)
  3. jb80538Comment by jb80538
    October 7, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    Well I for one am glad he DOES NOT own the Redskins. I think he would make a lousy team owner as he really doesn’t believe in the concept of TEAM. I don’t even think he knows how to throw a football. I mean we’ve seen him throw a baseball and that’s comical at best.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Redskins name. It should NEVER be changed to suit a few people’s stupidity.

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (20 votes cast)
  4. p3driverComment by p3driver
    October 7, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

    “If I owned a team.”
    Well, you don’t.
    So shut the eff up — it’s not like you’re skilled at running the gov’mint which you’re being paid (AND I EMPHASIZE DURING THE “SHUTDOWN”) to do.

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (18 votes cast)
    • wumingrenComment by wumingren
      October 7, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

      If he had a son … he wouldn’t play football if he’s a chip off the old man’s block.

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      Rating: 4.4/5 (9 votes cast)
  5. arwenusaComment by arwenusa
    October 7, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

    I’m surprised Obama didn’t suggest “Whiteskins” – that’s the only color against which there can be no abuse of any kind.

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    Rating: 4.9/5 (12 votes cast)
  6. freebirdComment by freebird
    October 7, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

    The idiot just can’t help himself. He has to insert himself into any issue regarding minorities or anything else that has a PC element to it – and a testament to his persistence, he’s more often wrong on the facts, wrong on the issues and wrong on the point of a POTUS taking a position at all on an issue he has no business sticking his substantial nose and ears into in the first place. Instead of just saying that’s a private or state or local matter that I won’t comment on, he just can’t keep his big mouth shut! Kinda like his VP, come to think of it…. What a moron!

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (11 votes cast)
  7. deckapeComment by deckape
    October 7, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

    why not change the name to the Obamabots, that should make his royal highness happy..

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  8. allfor1and1forallComment by allfor1and1forall
    October 7, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

    When I read that Marquette change the name of its team from the Warriors to…??? Wha-a-a-at? I thought, since there have been Mongol warriors, Visigoth warriors, Zulu warriors, Masai warriors, heck, even Klingon warriors. (smirk) So, why dump the term “warrior”.

    Then I thought, oh yeah, these simpering, “victim”, grievance groupies couldn’t be considered warriors under any scenario.

    I believe that if Sitting Bull, Geronimo and Crazy Horse returned, they would be proud that, gee, national sports teams have names that proudly refer to native Americans.

    Then, I think that they would turn around and slap these whiny little twits silly and give them something real to cry about.

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    Rating: 4.9/5 (13 votes cast)
  9. briankComment by briank
    October 7, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    NObama is just the same as Monte Burns on the Simpsons – a sinister vile old man holed up in the Whitehouse sending out orders that only benefit his communist agenda. It is time for NObama to get deported back to his homeland.

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    • 1389ADComment by 1389AD
      October 8, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

      I doubt Kenya wants him there either.

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (3 votes cast)
  10. deckapeComment by deckape
    October 7, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

    hows about the Washington Liberals or the Crackers, Honkeys..

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  11. Pingback: Redskins Rep Asks Why Blackhawks’ Name Isn’t Being Challenged – NBC Chicago (blog) | Daily News View

  12. patron71Comment by patron71
    October 7, 2013 @ 4:17 pm

    This this just shows how Obama thinks the world revolves around him. After all, the freeloaders and ignorant politicians probably told him his Crown is on the way.
    If people don’t start sticking up against him & his cronies butting into everyone’s life the USA will continue to spiral down hill until the country collapse.

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  13. kathyduComment by kathydu
    October 7, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

    It’s none of your business, jerkoff!

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  14. 1propComment by 1prop
    October 7, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

    This is just Obama trying to deflect attention from his government shutdown and his unwillingness to negotiate. I guess he hasn’t figured out that no one cares what he thinks. He has proven that he can’t run a country, what makes him think he could run a football team?

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  15. Jack ReacherComment by Jack Reacher
    October 7, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

    In honor of Sheik Obama, they should change the name to the Washington Half-Blacks

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  16. thgdriverComment by thgdriver
    October 7, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

    Nobama Obozo should direct that the playing of “Hail To The Chief” not be played when he arrives, attends, is introduced, or other wise shows up at any event. He should direct all that he not be addressed as Chief. I know his inflated ego ain’t gonna let him do that so he should just shut up.

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  17. surveyorxxiiComment by surveyorxxii
    October 7, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

    Political Correctness is the scourge of our time. The only thing worse is cancer or Islam. The United States has both all wrapped up in one man. The alien pretending to be the POTUS has spread his cancerous ideology throughout this country with his lies for almost five years now. The lies come easy for him, because all good Muslims use a form of deceit called Taqiyya http://www.billionbibles.org/sharia/taqiyya.html . He has left the border doors open so that his abettors can slink into our country and hide out in the many mosques throughout the states. That way, they can attack us from the inside like they did during 9/11, only this time, it will be a more devastating result.

    But, I digress. I just couldn’t help bringing up a tiny bit of history of this well spoken and devious man. Oh what the hell. I’ll list just a few more items that he is responsible for. He couldn’t own up to what the Attorney General did in the Fast and Furious Scandal. He couldn’t own up to what really happened in Benghazi, because he knows he would be impeached. He couldn’t own up to what the NSA and the IRS have done to the American people. Now, he has become an expert on giving advice to an owner of a National Football League team. The team is the Washington Redskins.

    In his own words he stated “I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” he said in the interview, which was conducted Friday at the White House.

    He is and avid sports fan who roots for his hometown Chicago Bears. Obama said he doesn’t think Washington football fans are purposely trying to offend American Indians. “I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so,” he said. Then using the clout of PC he stated ” I feel pretty strongly” about mascots and team names that depict negative stereotypes about their heritage”. In other words I strongly suggest, that Mr. Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins change their name to something more politically correct.

    What Dan Snyder wants to call his team is his business, not the business of a man that doesn’t know the difference between a football and a RED LINE. This reminds me of when Stanford University changed its name from The Indians to the Cardinals. That school was politically correct 41 years ago believe it or not. However, it didn’t stop there. No, not at all. In 1972 Stanford President Lyman made the decision to change the mascot to Cardinal, as in the color, instead of the Cardinals. The reason he went from Indians to Cardinals was because he didn’t want to insult the Indian nation. But the story doesn’t end there. He then thought that by calling the mascot The Cardinals that would be insulting the bird itself. Thus he changed the name again to The Cardinal as in the color. I’m surprised he didn’t think he was insulting the color. Obama would have been so proud of President Lyman.

    Personally, using the Lyman, Obama theorem, I think the Chicago Bears should change their name too. Bears all over the world have been abused and insulted since 1922 when that deceitful old man, George Halas, moved his Decatur Staleys team from Decatur, Ill to Chicago and changed their name from Staleys to Bears. I think that by the number of murders that have taken place in Chicago that the Chicago Addicts would be appropriate, and since Obama used drugs, and may still, who knows, he should be proud of that name. Some of the decisions he makes, would suggest that he is still on drugs.

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    • eagle275Comment by eagle275
      October 7, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

      How about naming them the Foreskins, in honor of all the d++kheads in Washington DC?

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      October 8, 2013 @ 9:37 am

      or even the Red Buckskins.

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  18. surveyorxxiiComment by surveyorxxii
    October 7, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

    That would be fine, but how about not changing the name at all and not paying attention to anything Obama says. It’s none of his business. If he buys the team
    from Snyder then he can have a say in the matter. He has a bad habit of jumping
    into something that’s none of his business. For instance the 2009 Beer Summit.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/04/17/van-jones-beer-summit

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  19. theronaldComment by theronald
    October 8, 2013 @ 9:48 am

    If they are going to change the name from Red Skins, they should make it a name more representative of the city, so……how about the Black skins?

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    • 1389ADComment by 1389AD
      October 8, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

      The Thinskins has also been suggested.

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  20. joe23006Comment by joe23006
    October 8, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

    He should just keep his nose out of it!

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      October 8, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

      Nose? It’s his Elephant Ears we have to worry about!

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  21. smhbooComment by smhboo
    October 8, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

    Obama should focus what little time he works on something that really matters like our eceonomy instead of trivial things like the name of a football team. Mr. Snyder needs to stick to his guns and keep the name just as it is. Maybe if Obama didn’t play as much golf as he does, and stick his nose where it doesn’t belong, he would have time to do his job. Like do something about all the fraudulant activity going on in his party and such.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      October 8, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

      Focus? It’s more like hocus pokeus with noIQbama

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  22. surveyorxxiiComment by surveyorxxii
    October 8, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

    Obama was chosen to do what he is doing to this country. He’s wants to destroy our country anyway he can. He has plenty of help from people like this. http://votingamerican.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/meet-barack-obamas-communist-white-house-staff/.All communists.

    Since the Boston Bombers struck during the marathon, People on the left want to take our guns away from us. They say there are many mentally disturbed people running around our country. I believe that the people mentioned in the above link are the mentally disturbed. Why would anyone with the slightest bit of mentality want to destroy the this country? The left, and it’s radicals members are indeed the certifiably demented brainwashed idiots that think communism is a good thing.

    In 2008 when Obama mention REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH to Plumber Joe that should have been the tip off to people that if Obama was elected, communism was just around the corner. Low and behold, with Obamadoesn’tCare here, so is communism. Will the morons that voted for him ever escape from the brainwashing they received in their formative years? Will the Manchurian candidate to save us? Time will tell.

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