President Barack Obama has joined the ongoing debate surrounding the NFL’s Washington Redskins and their nickname, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.
In a recent interview, President Obama admitted that nicknames like the “Redskins” can offend large groups of people. He also conceded that he doesn’t believe fans of Washington’s football team are out to mock or offend Native Americans.
Essentially, Obama didn’t pick a side, instead stating the facts that must be taken into consideration:
I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things. I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so.
He also pointed out that American Indians “feel pretty strongly” about team names that play off negative stereotypes or cast the group in an unfavorable light.
Despite being president, Obama has no say in whether the Redskins change their nickname. The decision is ultimately up to team owner Daniel Snyder, who told USA Today back in May that the franchise “will never” change its name.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has weighed in as well, originally defending the nickname in a response to a letter from Congress back in June. In a radio interview on 106.7 The Fan in Washington last month, Goodell changed his tune, admitting that “if one person is offended, we have to listen.”