Activists says Jeb Bush isn’t recognizing the harm done to children by Washington’s football team by supporting the Redskins name.
Bush told “The Arena,” a new show debuting Friday on Sirius XM’s POTUS channel, that the Redskins shouldn’t give into political pressure.
“I don’t think it should change it,” he said. “But again, I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that, to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.”
The former Florida governor added: “We had a similar kind of flap with FSU, if you recall, the Seminoles. And the Seminole tribe itself kind of came to the defense of the university and it subsided.”
“It’s a sport, for crying out loud. It’s a football team,” Bush said. “Washington has a huge fan base — I’m missing something here, I guess.”
The Change the Mascot campaign, which includes politicians, some Native American tribes and civil rights groups, responded to Bush in a statement noting “social science research has shown that the NFL’s promotion of the R-word racial slur has particularly serious effects on Native American children.”
“Recently, the governor has used offensive language to describe immigrants and he has denigrated America’s multicultural heritage,” Change the Mascot said, referencing Bush’s comments that the GOP’s message to minority voters “is one of hope and aspiration — it isn’t one of division and ‘get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff.’”
“Now he is endorsing the NFL’s preferred racial slur against Native Americans. That is disappointing, but sadly not surprising. In recent weeks it emerged publicly that one of his major donors is the Washington NFL team’s owner — a billionaire who has a direct financial interest in continuing to promote this racial slur,” the anti-Redskins campaign continued.
“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. 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,” Change the Mascot said.