President Donald Trump criticized the NFL’s Washington Redskins and MLB’s Cleveland Indians for considering changing their respective names amid growing pressure from the left, and even threw in a jab at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
“They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct,” President Trump wrote on Twitter. “Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!”
They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct. Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
On Friday, Indians announced that the franchise will review their team name, which has stood since 1915.
“We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality,” the team said in a statement. “Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community.”
The Indians’ announcement came after the Redskins launched a “thorough review” of their name following FedEx’s call to rename the team. FedEx shelled out $205 million for naming rights to the team’s stadium in 1998.
League sources told Adweek and the Washington Post that Redskins owner Dan Snyder has been under increased pressure to change the team’s name given the current social climate, with many protesters targeting the organization’s sponsors.
On Wednesday, the outlets reported that FedEx, Nike, and PepsiCo each received letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion asking the three companies to disassociate from the Redskins unless they change their controversial nickname.
“The NFL’s Washington, D.C. team still uses a racist name as its mascot,” the letter reads. “Redskins remains a de-humanizing word characterizing people by skin color and a racial slur with hateful connotations.
“Virtually every major national American Indian organization has denounced use of Indian and Native related images, names and symbols disparaging or offending American Indian peoples, with over 2,000 academic institutions eliminating ‘Indian’ sports references.”
Native American leaders want Snyder to change the name, which the organization has used since 1933. In previous years, groups protested the nickname and tried to win in court, but those efforts failed.
The UPI contributed to this report.