More than 50 years ago, one of America's presidents basically had to blackmail then-Washington owner George Marshall to break the team's color line. On Friday, America's current president said he thinks it might be time for another big change for that franchise.
"I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things," Obama said. “I don't want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so.”
It seems as though Redskins owner Daniel Snyder continues to face more pressure to change the name. Roger Goodell, who once was an ardent supporter of the nickname, modified his stance slightly in September.
"If one person's offended, we have to listen," Goodell said. "And ultimately, it is Dan's decision. But it is something that I want all of us to go out and make sure we're listening to our fans, listening to people who have a different view, and making sure that we continue to do what's right to make sure that team represents the strong tradition that it has for so many years."
Snyder for his part has been adamant about not changing the name.
"We'll never change the name," Snyder said in May. "It's that simple. NEVER -- you can use caps."
At this point, it's unclear how Obama will fare against Snyder's ALL CAPS weapon, but at the very least, it's another modicum of pressure that Snyder probably doesn't want to have to bear.
But as JFK knew, sometimes the Redskins organization is slow to change. And sometimes a push from the executive office can help make that alteration.
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