In a rare show of bipartisanship during a heated government shutdown, Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma sided with President … Read More
In a rare show of bipartisanship during a heated government shutdown, Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma sided with President Obama Monday, telling NOW Host Alex Wagner that he supports a name-change for the Washington Redskins.
“I have a lot of respect for them as a football program. It’s great tradition,” Cole said. ” But I think if they reflect on it, the name is just simply inapropriate. It’s offensive to a lot of people, certainly to me it’s offensive to a lot of people, certainly to me.”
Rep. Cole is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, and his home state of Oklahoma has the highest percentage of Native Americans in the country.
“In a town where people were sensitive enough to change the name of the Washington Bullets to the Washington Wizards because they thought it promoted violence,” Cole added, referring to the NBA team’s 1997 name change, “I don’t see how in the world you can have the moniker that the Washington franchise uses today. In the end, i think it will change.”
Cole’s statement came after President Obama weighed in on the controversy Friday. In an interview with the Associated Press, the president said, “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’d think about changing it.”
Redskins lawyer and former Clinton administration official Lanny Davis responded, ”The Redskins respect everyone. But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks (from President Obama’s hometown), the fans love their team and its name and, like those fans, they do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group.”