- By Native News Online Staff
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday weighed in on Twitter about two professional sports teams that are reviewing their names in wake of increased racial justice momentum across America after the death of George Floyd.
The president tweeted: “They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redsk!ns & 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!”
His tweet comes after Friday’s announcement by the Washington National Football League (NFL) team that the team had started a thorough review of their name, which American Indians consider a slur and have worked for decades to change. The decision to conduct a thorough review came after the team’s corporate partners including FedEx and Nike called for the name change.
Then later on Friday, the Cleveland Indians, a Major League Baseball (MLB) team, announced they too were reviewing their name.
“We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality,” the Cleveland Indians said in a statement.
The president’s mention of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) follows his pattern to criticize the senator for claims her family had American Indian ancestry. Trump has for years mocked Warren by calling her “Pocahontas.”
While the president appears to think American Indians find the review process offensive, Native American advocates such as the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) praised the movement towards changing the name of the Washington franchise.
“We are encouraged by the Washington NFL team’s announcement that it will conduct a ‘thorough review’ of the team’s name and mascot,” NCAI President Fawn Sharp said in a statement. “This moment has been 87 years in the making, and we have reached this moment thanks to decades of tireless efforts by tribal leaders, advocates, citizens, and partners to educate America about the origins and meaning of the R-word.”
Support Independent Indigenous Journalism
Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission: We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country. We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.
Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.