Jeb Bush weighed in on the continuing controversy over the Washington, DC, pro football team’s name this week, saying he supported owner Dan Snyder’s refusal to abandon it, despite years of repeated calls to do so from Native Americans activists.
Mother Jones, like some other publications, does not refer to the team by that name.
“I don’t think it should change,” the GOP presidential candidate said during an episode of Sirius XM’s The Arena this week. “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.”
Adding that he witnessed a similar “flap” with Florida State University’s team name, the Seminoles, the former Florida governor conceded that he may not understand all aspects of the debate.
“It’s a sport, for crying out loud,” Bush said. “It’s a football team. Washington has a huge fan base—I’m missing something here, I guess.”
It’s worth mentioning Snyder donated $100,000 to the Bush-supporting super-PAC Right to Rise back in June.
Bush’s remarks this week align the presidential hopeful’s views with a long list of Republicans who are also unable to grasp why the moniker may be an offensive term for many Native Americans. For many activists, Snyder is the unofficial face for keeping the name intact.
“We will never change the name of the team,” Snyder told USA Today in 2013. “As a lifelong [redacted] fan, and I think that the [redacted] fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means.”
Bush’s stance on the Washington football team comes fresh off his eyebrow-raising comments about black voters receiving “free stuff,” resurrecting a damaging trope that depicts African Americans exploiting welfare laws.