Even though only 11 percent of Americans think the Washington Redskins should change their nickname, President Barack Obama decided it was important to discuss the matter on Friday just three days after the federal government shutdown and as the country faces a looming crisis on the debt ceiling.
An Associated Press poll in April found that 79% of Americans favored the Redskins name while only 11 percent thought it should be changed, which means as many people approve of a potential Redskins name change as they do Congress.
While Americans are struggling looking for jobs at home and while Obama faces crises abroad in Syria and Iran, Obama showed he was preoccupied with the change, saying he would “think about changing” the name if he owned the team.
“I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” Obama told The Associated Press on Friday.
Obama’s comments come after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, as Breitbart News reported, said that if just “one person is offended, we have to listen” to the concerns.
Obama said the Redskins name–and others like it–offend “a sizable group of people” and noted that Native Americans “feel pretty strongly” about such mascots. Activists and journalists have been trying to pressure the Redskins to change their name and have refused to refer to the team by their “Redskins” name. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, for instance, recently referred to the Redskins as the Washington “R-words.” Sports Illustrated writer Rep. Peter King (R-NY)’s popular “The MMQB” website said the the writers would refer to the Redskins as the “Washington football team.”