John McCain said Friday that he'd probably change the name of the Washington NFL team if he were the owner, a significant moment because he is the leading Republican to say so, echoing the thoughts of top Democrats like President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
McCain, Arizona senator and the Republican nominee for president in 2008, was asked about the issue on the Dan Patrick radio show, and McCain said Washington team owner Daniel Snyder should talk to American Indian leaders about his team's use of the word "redskin."
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"If they think it's that offensive and terrible, I would certainly — probably — I'm not the owner and he has the rights of an owner, but frankly I would probably change the name,"McCain said. "Myself I'm not offended. You're not offended. But there are Native Americans who are."
Reid used even stronger words on the Senate floor this week, suggesting that the NFL follow the lead of the NBA in renouncing racism. "How long will the NFL continue to do nothing, zero, as one of its teams bears a name that inflicts so much pain on Native Americans?" Reid said.
McCain was asked if he saw parallels between the NBA's ouster of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist remarks and the NFL's continued acceptance of the Washington team name. "I'm not sure I would connect the two," McCain said.