The sports-fan in chief is calling an audible.
After years of controversy that their name is offensive to Native Americans, President Barack Obama recommended that the Washington Redskins rethink their name, despite the team’s storied history.
“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 sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.,” Obama told the Associated Press’ Julie Pace on Friday.
In May, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked whether Obama was in favor of changing the name, but Earnest said he had not discussed the issue with the president.
From the interview:
You know, Julie, obviously, people get pretty attached to team names, mascots. 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 sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.
But I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team, and rightly so — even though they’ve been having a pretty tough time this year. But I think — all these mascots and team names related to Native Americans, Native Americans feel pretty strongly about it. And I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real, legitimate concerns that people have about these things.
Obama also floated the idea that he may want to own a sports team after leaving the White House.
Maybe after I leave the presidency. (Laughter.) I think it would be a lot of fun. Although, I’d probably play — I’d probably look at a basketball team before I looked at a football team. I know more about basketball than I do about football.