John McCain: I’d drop Redskins nickname if I owned team

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Sen. John McCain said Thursday he probably would change the name of the Washington Redskins if he owned the team, but he doesn’t believe the government should play a role in forcing a change.

Speaking at the annual Associated Press Sports Editors conference in Arlington, Virginia, the Arizona Republican was dismissive of last week’s decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel some of the team’s “Redskins” trademarks.

“I kind of thought the patent office was supposed to be involved in patents,” he said, later adding: “I do believe that if the Native American community views this as offensive, then it’s offensive. I don’t believe in passing laws to force Mr. Snyder to act.”

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has said repeatedly he will not change the nickname, which has come under heavier fire in recent years from those who consider it a slur. But McCain said he has heard from “many” in his state who find “Redskins” objectionable and suggested Snyder have a meaningful dialogue with the Native American community in an effort to hear out their concerns.

With that in mind, McCain said, “if I were the owner of the team, I’d call them together and have a dialogue with them and I would probably change the name.”

 

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