By Ken Reed

President Obama weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ nickname this past Saturday. While his comments were pretty wishy-washy (“If I were the owner of the team … I’d think about changing it.”), the fact that the country’s president weighed in on the issue will bring more attention to the topic and that’s a positive. In fact, I believe the more the proverbial spotlight shines on the racist and offensive nickname, the more people will become aware of, and appreciate, the negative socio-cultural aspects of the nickname.

“The use of such a offensive term has negative consequences for the Native American community when it comes to issues of self-identity and imagery,” said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation representative. “We will continue to push our cause because at the end of the day this is about doing right by our children who are especially impressionable.”

Reskins’ owner Daniel Snyder has said he’ll never change the team’s nickname. However, NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell said recently that if one person is offended, “we have to listen.”

The Oneida Indian Nation was pleased with Obama’s remarks, saying in a statement that “President Obama’s comments today are historic.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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