President Obama’s comments against the Washington Redskins received much approval from Native American leaders led by Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation. The tribe leaders used the meeting at White House on Tuesday to express their gratitude for Obama’s stand against the team’s controversial name.
Obama’s meeting with the tribal leaders was closed to reporters. The developments in the meeting were recounted by a tribal representative who asked to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the leaders. The issues discussed included economic development issues affecting Native Americans, capital jurisdictional challenges, job creations and of course the issue of the “Redskins” name was brought up too.
In October Obama had an interview with The Associated Press, in which he had said that if he was the owner of the Redskins he would consider changing the name because the name is offensive to some people. “I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” Obama said. The President’s remarks sparked increased public debate with many Native American groups and the greater public.
Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskin team had earlier said that he would not consider changing the name.
“We will never change the name of the team,” Snyder had told USA TODAY Sports. “As a lifelong Redskins fan, I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season”.
Meanwhile, the Redskins attorney, Lanny Davis rebutted Obama’s comments with a statement highlighting opinion polls in which the majority of respondents said they were not bothered by the team’s name and did not think it should be changed.
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