Republican congressional nominee Burgess Owens says the campaign to get the Washington Redskins to change their nickname was pushed by the “left trying to destroy our history.”
Earlier in July, team owner Dan Snyder announced he was retiring the team’s nickname after coming under pressure from advertisers and sponsors who said they would no longer financially support the team if the nickname remained. Snyder says he will announce the new name later this year.
“My concern is where does it stop?” said Owens, a former NFL player, during an appearance on Fox News. “We have a great history we should not only engage with, but be proud of as we learn how far we’ve come along the way. We have the left trying to destroy our history, destroying anything we can come together with.”
Owens cited a 2016 survey that said 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the team’s nickname. However, a 2019 survey from UC Berkely found just 38 percent of self-identified Native Americans said they were not bothered by the nickname, while 49 percent said it was offensive.
Owens also slammed the NFL for the decision to play the “Black National Anthem” before the league’s games in the first week of the upcoming season. The decision comes in the wake of nationwide protests against racial injustice following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Owens said league officials should be figuring out how to keep players safe from the coronavirus so they can begin the season on time.
“You have a corporate activist spending more time over the last few months figuring out how to give Black people a separate anthem and dividing the American people,” he said.