WASHINGTON — Republican presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Jeb Bush have weighed in on the Washington Redskins’ name controversy, saying the team shouldn’t change the name.
“I don’t find it offensive,” Bush told SiriusXM’s “The Arena.” “Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.”
Sides are split on a Redskins name change. Proponents say the nickname is a symbol of pride for fans who align with the squad’s hardnose playing style and lineage of NFL Hall of Fame players.
Opponents say the term “redskin” is a racial slur toward Native Americans. Some have protested the team before games; others have said outright that the Redskins should consider a name change.
In July, a federal judge ordered the cancellation of the team’s federal trademark registrations, marking a victory for Native American activists.
During his SiriusXM interview, Bush recalled a similar incident in Florida during his time as governor. Controversy surrounded the name of Florida State University’s football team — the Seminoles — until the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Seminole Nation of Oklahoma endorsed the nickname.
“It’s a sport for crying out loud,” Bush exclaimed about the Redskins’ issues. “It’s a football team. Washington has a huge fan base. I’m missing something, I guess.”
In a separate interview with The New York Times, Trump agreed with Bush.
“Honestly, I don’t think they should change the name, unless the owner wanted to,” he said.
Trump told the Times that the issue is another example of unnecessary political correctness.
“I know Indians that are extremely proud of that name,” Trump said. “They think it’s positive.”
On Sunday, the Redskins beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 23-20, at FedEx Field in Landover.
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