WASHINGTON — Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush says the Washington Redskins should not change their name and politicians should not have a say in what a professional football team calls itself.
The GOP candidate joined “The Arena,” a new political- and sports-talk program hosted by Rick Klein of ABC News and Andy Katz of ESPN on SiriusXM, where he was asked what he thought “the chances are that Washington should change its nickname of its football team.”
“I don’t think it should change it,” Bush said. “But that’s, again, I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that, to be honest with you.”
“I don’t find it offensive,” he continued. “Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive. We had a similar kind of flap with FSU if you recall, the Seminoles. And the Seminole tribe itself kind of came to the defense of the university and it subsided. It’s a sport, for crying out loud. It’s a football team. Washington has a huge fanbase.”
“I just, I don’t … I’m missing something here, I guess,” he concluded.
The Change The Mascot campaign, funded by the Oneida Indian Nation, issued a response:
“Social science research has shown that the NFL’s promotion of the R-word racial slur has particularly serious effects on Native American children. Recently, the governor has used offensive language to describe immigrants and he has denigrated America’s multicultural heritage. Now he is endorsing the NFL’s preferred racial slur against Native Americans. That is disappointing, but sadly not surprising. In recent weeks it emerged publicly that one of his major donors is the Washington NFL team’s owner — a billionaire who has a direct financial interest in continuing to promote this racial slur.”
As Change The Mascot notes, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder recently donated $100,000 to Right to Rise PAC, a political action committee aligned with Bush.
“What is surprising is that in promoting the use of this slur, the governor somehow believes he speaks for Native Americans and can assert that Native American people do not find this slur offensive,” Change The Mascot’s statement continues. “He clearly is missing something. What is even more appalling is the governor’s declaration that because he personally doesn’t find this slur offensive, that makes it acceptable.
“This should be a very simple open-and-shut issue in the 2016 campaign: No presidential candidate should be promoting this racial slur against Native Americans.”
The full interview is scheduled to air along with the debut show on Friday at 2 p.m.
Thanks to ABC News for sharing.