Politics | Sports

Republican Jeb Bush defends racist name of Washington NFL team

SiriusXM: Jeb Bush: Washington Redskins Shouldn't Change Their Name, It's Not Offensive

If Republican presidential candidate
Jeb Bush gets into the White House he won't be joining the Change the Mascot movement.

In an interview on SiriusXM, the former governor of Florida claimed that tribes are not offended by the Washington NFL team's name even though dozens of tribes, nearly every Indian organization and prominent Indian activists have called it racist, dehumanizing and derogatory.

"I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive," Bush said.

Bush brought up his experience with the Florida State University Seminoles. The Seminole Tribe supports the use of the "Seminoles" nickname and mascot although the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma does not.

Chief Osceola and his horse Renegade serve as mascots for Florida State University. Photo from cholder on Flickr

Democrats quickly pounced on Bush's comments as out of touch. The head of the Democratic National Committee -- who also hails from Florida -- said it was indicative of the Republican's poor record on diversity.

“Jeb Bush’s support of the Washington football team’s name and mascot is extremely insulting to Native American people and is one of many reasons he will not earn the Native American vote," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida), who serves as chair of the DNC, said in a statement. "The team’s name is a racial slur that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native American people, and reduces proud cultures to an insulting caricature."

The Change the Mascot organization -- headed up by the Oneida Nation of New York -- also questioned Bush's comments. Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington NFL team, donated $100,000 to the Republican.

"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," the group said in a statement.

Get the Story:
Bush says NFL’s Washington Redskins name not offensive (AP 9/30)
Jeb Bush’s Position on Washington Redskins Offends Some Native Americans (The New York Times 9/30)

An Opinion:
Alexandra Petri: On Washington football team, as on other issues, Jeb Bush continues to be not quite right (The Washington Post 9/30)

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