By, Cassy Spodak (CNN)
One of the more controversial fights in Washington, D.C. isn’t over the budget or Obamacare. It’s about a football team’s name.
And now President Barack Obama is weighing in.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Obama said if he were the owner of the Washington Redskins, and he knew the name was “offending a sizable group of people,” then he would “think about changing it.”
Ever the politician, Obama suggested that he understands the fervor of a loyal sports fan. But mascots and team names related to Native Americans can elicit strong feelings, he added.
“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.
Redskins attorney Lanny Davis, responded to Obama’s comments, stating that the team honors a “legacy and tradition” that does not intend to “disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group.”
Davis, in his statement, mentioned other teams with names that reference Native Americans, such as the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks, who hail from Obama’s home town.
The statement also mentions an April 2013 AP poll that found most Americans don’t think the Washington Redskins name should be changed – pushing back on Obama’s comment that the number of people offended by a mascot could be a deciding factor on whether to change it.