Meet the Press   |  October 06, 2013

Should the Washington Redskins change their name?

NBC News’ Kristen Welker examines the controversy over the Washington Redskins name after President Obama weighed in.

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>>> since 1937 , the nfl's washington redskins has been d.c. 's football team , but there's been a growing move to change the team's name on the grounds it mayo fend some native americans . as correspondent reports, president obama has now been drawn into the debate.

>> reporter: on the field they are fierce competitors with a faithful fan base. but off the gridiron, a different battle over the team's controversial name, redskins. in an interview released saturday, president obama weighed in for the first time.

>> i've got to say if i were the owner of the team, and i knew that there was a name of my team, even if it had a storied history that was offending a sizeable group of people, i would think about changing it.

>> reporter: nfl commissioner robert goodell made similar comments in september.

>> we have to listen. if one person is offended, we have to listen.

>> reporter: but like all fights in this town, both sides are dug in.

>> the residents think they should keep their name.

>> we have to change it because we have a diverse, multicultural nation.

>> owner dan snider recently said he would never change the name. lannie davis says he appreciates the president's opinion, but the moniker is staying.

>> the redskins name has been here for 80 years. the original coach was a native american . it's not about disrespecting or disparaging anyone.

>> reporter: that explanation isn't good enough for some native americans , like those in the united nation who have launched a campaign against the mascot.

>> in any other group or other ethnic group would not tolerate this kind of language being used about them that's so denigrating and dehumanizing.

>> reporter: the latest poll says 4 out of 5 americans don't think the team should change their name. supporters argue there are other native american namesakes like the braves, indians and blackhawks. still, pressure is mounting with protests sprouting up outside games. and some media outlets refusing to use the term. a group of lawmakers, including d.c. 's eleanor holmes norton , has introduced legislation aimed at forcing change.

>> i certainly think it's a tipping point and the handwriting is on the wall.

>> but for jeff bostic , it's about holding onto a winning tradition.

>> i think it's a sense of pride. when we were fortunate enough to wear the burgundy and gold, we were proud to be called redskins, we were proud to represent our nation's capitol.

>> reporter: now, the redskins name is also facing a legal challenge and there is an effort under way to get broadcasters to stop using the term. on monday the united nation will hold a conference right here in washington, d.c. they say they are determined. savannah?

>> kristin welker at the white house , thank you so much.