A new Washington Post poll finds that fully nine in ten Native Americans do not take offense at the name of the Washington Redskins football team.
The editorial page of the newspaper commissioning the survey forbids the use of the term, claiming “the team name unquestionably offends not only many Native Americans but many other Americans, too.” The Kansas City Star, Seattle Times, and other outlet prohibit use of the name on similar grounds. The new poll suggests that journalists misunderstand Native Americans.
The NFL and the Redskins have been under siege for several years as activists have sought to force the team to abandon its “offensive” moniker. But this new poll shows how few people of Native American heritage really care much about the whole controversy.
The survey of 504 Native Americans found the result fairly consistent across all age groups, income brackets, and sexes. In the end, few were bothered by the name and less than a quarter thought the word was disrespectful.
The poll conducted over a five-month period asked respondents who identified as having Native American heritage the following:”The professional football team in Washington calls itself the Washington Redskins. As a Native American, do you find that name offensive, or doesn’t it bother you?”
With that question in mind, a whopping 90 percent said it did not bother them.
Another question asked if the word “Redskin” itself was disrespectful of Native Americans. That question also found few respondents siding with the activists with 73 percent across three categories saying it was not disrespectful.
The controversy over the team name made a brief appearance in the GOP primary when former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was asked about the team name and said it didn’t bother him and wasn’t something politicians should get involved in anyway.
A week later current GOP front runner Donald Trump also jumped into the debate siding with the team and owner Daniel Snyder, even going so far as calling the name “a positive” thing for native Americans.
“Honestly, I don’t think they should change the name, unless the owner wanted to,” Trump said in a new interview.
Trump went on to note that the name has been in use for decades and few have been insulted by it until recently. He went on to say those agitating for the team to drop the name are just engaged in unnecessary political correctness.
The New Yorker went on to claim that far from being insulted, many native Americans are proud of the team’s name.
“I know Indians that are extremely proud of that name. They think it’s a positive,” Trump insisted.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com