President Trump waded deeper into the culture wars roiling the US on Monday — defending the team names of the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians and slamming them for being “politically correct.”
“They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct. Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!” Trump tweeted.
The Redskins, who have long faced criticism from Native American groups and others, said last week it would consider a name change.
Nike appeared to have pulled Redskins merchandise off its website after FedEx — the company whose name is on the arena where the team plays — publicly called on the franchise to change its name, putting increasing pressure on owner Dan Snyder, who has refused to consider a name change for years, Fox Business reported.
On Sunday, three minority owners, Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar and Fred Smith, who own a combined 40 percent of the team, said they were “not happy being a partner” with Snyder and hired an investment firm to search for potential buyers of their shares, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
The Cleveland Indians have also come under fire over the years over the team name and its logo depicting a caricature of a Native American, “Chief Wahoo.”
Cleveland manager Terry Francona said Sunday he was in favor of the team changing its name, according to BleacherReport.com.
Addressing reporters during summer camp on Sunday, Francona said “it’s time to move forward” with a new name.
In a statement released Friday, the team announced it was looking at other options for a name.
“We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues. The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice,” the team said.
“With that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
Trump’s tweet came minutes after White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters she was unaware of Trump’s position on the issue.
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