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President Takes Sides on Team Name

President Takes Sides on Team Name

   WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama says he would ``think about changing'' the Washington Redskins' name if he owned the football team as he waded into the controversy involving a word that many consider offensive to Native Americans.

Obama, in an interview with The Associated Press, said team names such as the Redskins offend ``a sizable group of people.'' He said that while fans get attached to the names, nostalgia may not be a good enough reason to keep them in place.

   ``I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,'' he said in the interview, which was conducted Friday.

   An avid sports fan who roots for the Chicago Bears, Obama said he doesn't think Washington football fans are purposely trying to offend American Indians. ``I don't want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so,'' he said.

   But the president appeared to come down on the side of those who have sharply criticized the football team's name, noting that Indians ``feel pretty strongly'' about mascots and team names that depict negative stereotypes about their heritage.

   The team's owner, Dan Snyder has vowed to never abandon the name.

   NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month that the league should pay attention to those offended by the name _ a subtle change in position for Goodell, who had more strongly supported the name in his previous statements this year.

   Email messages to team spokesman Tony Wyllie and general manager Bruce Allen were not immediately returned Saturday.

   Other professional sports teams have Indian names, including football's Kansas City Chiefs and baseball's Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.

-Posted by KFI News Anchor Terry Anzur

 

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