“Idon’t think they should change it,” Bush said in a SiriusXM interview.”I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that, to be honest with you.”
Bush’s claim that a polticial figure shouldn’t be speaking on the topic to begin with did not stop him from providing his own opinion: “I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.”
In fact,23 Native American tribes and more than 50 organizations that represent various groups of Native Americans have demanded that the name be changed, and a lawsuit brought to federal court resulted in a decision canceling the team’s trademark.
Change the Mascot, an organization run by the Oneida Indian tribe, seeks “to end the use of the racial slur ‘r*dskins’ as the mascot and name of the NFL team in Washington, D.C.,” according to its website. In a statement regarding Bush’s comments, the group said, “What is surprising is that in promoting the use of this slur, the governor somehow believes he speaks for Native Americans and can assert that Native American people do not find this slur offensive.”
The Oneida Tribe keeps a list of tribes that have asserted they find the team’s name offensive; to date, more than a dozen tribes are on this list.
And he went on even further to insist he “never quite understood what the big fuss was,” saying, “It’s a sport, for crying out loud. It’s a football team. Washington has a huge fan base I’m missing something here, I guess.”
Change the Mascot agreed with Bush on this part; their statement continued, “He clearly is missing something. What is even more appalling is the governor’s declaration that because he personally doesn’t find this slur offensive, that makes it acceptable. This should be a very simple open-and-shut issue in the 2016 campaign: No presidential candidate should be promoting this racial slur against Native Americans.”
And other people see the term as something to “fuss” over, too, according to a poll conducted in 2014, which asked Americans if they would use the term “Redskin” to describe someone to their face. 83 of respondents said they would not.
Some are speculating that Bush’s latest comments may be connected to his relationship with the Redskins’ CEO and owner Daniel Snyder. In April of this year, Snyder donated $100,000 to Bush’s Right to Rise Super PAC. Although the group is not legally affiliated with Bush’s presidential campaign, the group is still a pro-Bush committee.