John McCain: I'd "probably" change the name of D.C.'s football team

The former presidential candidate and leading Senate Republican says he'd listen to Native Americans' complaints

Published May 2, 2014 4:25PM (EDT)

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)              (Reuters/Samantha Sais)
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (Reuters/Samantha Sais)

Speaking on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Friday, Republican senator and former presidential candidate John McCain said that, if he were the owner, he'd "probably" change the name of Washington, D.C.'s football team.

"If they think it's that offensive and terrible, I would certainly — probably," McCain said, referring to the many Native American groups who have called on team owned Dan Snyder to rename his club.

"I'm not the owner and he has the rights of an owner," McCain continued. "But, frankly, I would probably change the name."

That said, however, McCain argued that he, personally, didn't find the team's name to be problematic. "Myself, I'm not offended," said the senator who once voted against commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. with a federal holiday.

"You're not offended," McCain said. "But there are Native Americans who are."

McCain went on to recommend that Snyder engage in a real discussion with Native American groups in order to better understand their concerns.

"I'd call the Native American leaders together and I'd sit down with them and say, ‘What is it you want?'" McCain continued. "If I were him, I'd have a dialogue."

McCain's latest comments on the issue represent a minor shift from remarks he delivered in 2013. At that time, McCain said he would not "presume to tell the owner of the [team] what he should or should not do."

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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