“I don’t think it should change it,” Bush said on the inaugural episode of “The Arena” radio program, set to debut Friday afternoon on Sirius XM’s POTUS Channel 124. “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.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
Florida State’s nickname was supported during Bush’s time as governor by prominent Native American groups, including the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.
The Redskins’ name, though, has been more controversial. Bills have been filed in Congress to force a change, and Native American groups have organized protests for years to force the franchise to change the team name away from a term that’s viewed by many as racially offensive.
Of Goodell, the NFL commissioner, Bush said, “I think that it’s a private enterprise and they ought to have as much freedom to do what they want. But good leadership and good management would suggest -- and I think Roger understands this -- that you have to create support around whatever ideas you have, and the best way to do that is to build support.”
“All these things matter, and so creating a process to show that you’re transparent and open, willing to listen to other sides of the story, I think all that’s important. It’s just part of being a leader,” Bush said.
In July, FEC reports showed that Snyder, who has been the Washington Redskins owner since 1999, donated $100,000 to the Jeb Bush Super PAC "Right to Rise."
Change the Mascot - the campaign dedicated to ending the team's use of "redskins" - released a statement today, calling Bush's comments "disappointing, but sadly not surprising."
“What is surprising is that in promoting the use of this slur, the governor somehow believes he speaks for Native Americans and can assert that Native American people do not find this slur offensive. He clearly is missing something. What is even more appalling is the governor’s declaration that because he personally doesn’t find this slur offensive, that makes it acceptable," the statement reads. “This should be a very simple open-and-shut issue in the 2016 campaign: No presidential candidate should be promoting this racial slur against Native Americans.”
DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also released a response today condemning Bush's comments.
“Jeb Bush’s support of the Washington football team’s name and mascot is extremely insulting to Native American people and is one of many reasons he will not earn the Native American vote. The team’s name is a racial slur that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native American people, and reduces proud cultures to an insulting caricature."