Jeb Bush says NFL's Redskins should keep controversial name

Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:27pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said the Washington Redskins should keep their controversial name despite complaints from some Native American groups and members of Congress that it is racist.

"I don’t find it offensive," Bush said in a taped interview to air on Friday on the Sirius XM radio show "The Arena." "Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive."

Some Native American groups have said "Redskins" is a slur and are calling for the team to change the name.

"I don’t think (they) should change it," Bush said. "But again, I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that, to be honest with you."

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who has said the name expresses respect toward Native Americans and that he will not change it under any circumstances, gave $100,000 to Right to Rise, a Super PAC supporting Bush's candidacy, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.

A federal judge in July upheld a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the name was "disparaging to Native Americans" and thus ineligible for federal trademark registration.

In 2005 when Bush was governor of Florida, the National Collegiate Athletic Association decided to let Florida State University keep its Seminoles nickname. The Seminoles are a Native American tribe originally from Florida.

"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," Bush said.   Continued...

Washington Redskins running back Mack Brown (37) celebrates with Redskins wide receiver Rashad Ross (19) after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedEx Field. The Jaguars won 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports