WASHINGTON — The Washington Redskins have responded in an official statement, crafted by team attorney Lanny J. Davis, to a statement by President Barack Obama to the Associated Press that he would “think about changing” the Washington Redskins’ name if he owned the football team.
The president is the latest to wade into the controversy involving a word that many consider offensive to Native Americans.
“As a supporter of President Obama, I am sure the president is not aware that in the highly respected Annenberg Institute poll (taken 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 eight out of ten of all Americans in a national sample don’t think the Washington Redskins name should be changed,” the Davis statement says.
He continued that “We at the Redskins respect everyone. But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks (from President Obama’s home town ), we love our team and its name and, like those fans, we do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group.”
The name “Washington Redskins” is 80 years old. Davis added that it’s the team’s history, legacy and tradition.