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Trump and Jeb Agreement

In September, presidential candidate and former Florida governor Jeb Bush told a conservative radio show that he does not mind the name of the Washington NFL team. He personally does not find it offensive and fails to see how anyone would. Bush went on to say “I don’t think it should change it. But again, I don’t think politicians ought to have any say in that to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive. 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. Washington has a huge fan base…I’m missing something here I guess.”


For purposes of this article, we will follow the lead of other publications and not use the name of the team, instead simply referring to it as the Washington football or the Washington NFL team.


Jeb Bush has said a lot of dumb things during his campaign, but this is perhaps one of the stupidest, most clueless remarks ever by a modern day presidential candidate. First, Bush is apparently so clueless that he does not think that a president should have any say in cultural matters in this country, like whether a name of an NFL team in the nation’s capital is offensive to a sizeable historically marginalized minority in this country. Second, he claims that Native Americans do not find it offensive, which is completely untrue. Native American groups have called on the team to change its name and have been doing so for years, even starting groups like Change the Mascot to call out the team’s inherent racism.  Third, Jeb falsely equates the team’s derogatory name to the name of the Florida State Seminoles, a name that does not use a derogatory term and that was approved by the leadership of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In fact, even the two symbols used, Osceola and Renegade, are supported by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the team worked with leadership to modify the half time routine to address their concerns.


Perhaps not surprising to anyone, last week Donald Trump went on record to support Jeb Bush’s position that the Washington NFL team is not offensive. Trump said “I know Indians that are extremely proud of that name. They think it’s a positive.” I highly doubt that Trump knows one Native American that is proud of the team name. Then again, Trump has already exposed himself as a race baiting xenophobe.


It is still unclear why Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington team, keeps fighting so hard to keep the name. In a recent poll, the majority of DC residents support a change to the name. Snyder, however, has been tone deaf to the opinions of the team’s own fans in its own city. Not surprisingly, he has even donated $100,000 to the super PAC supporting Jeb’s campaign for president.

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