Locals react to NFL Team Name Change - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Locals react to NFL Team Name Change

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It's been a long standing debate, and now the president has weighed in on the issue.

Washington D.C's NFL team, the Washington Redskins, have been the target of a new campaign calling for the team's owner to change the name; saying the name "redskin" is offensive.

KULR-8's Kyle Benton talked to people on both sides of the debate here in Billings.

In an interview with the Associated Press, President Obama immersed himself in the call for the Washington Redskins to change its name.

"If I were the owner of the team, I'd think about changing it," said Obama.

Even though the name has been called offensive before, many local residents feel very strongly about, what they term as, too much political correctness in Washington.

"Well I think it's ridiculous. They've had that name for quite awhile. And I don't know if their ego is so tender, why would they want to change it," said Billings football fan Kevin Unrugh.

Others claim, there is now a need to be aware of different cultures.

"Years ago when they first got the name, it was probably really fine. But nowadays, you have to be politically correct and I could probably see a name change," says Tiny's Tavern and Eatery owner, Curt Grimm.

This isn't the first time citizen action has led to teams changing their mascots. It recently happened right here in our own backyard, when the Red Lodge Redskins decided it was in the team's best interest to change its name.

"One of the issues with mascots is, 'Hey, but dude I'm honoring you, we love our Indians, we love our Griz, we love our Bobcats,' but we have to be respectful and sensitive to what other people like to be called," said Dr. Jeff Sanders, MSU-B Professor of Native American Studies.

Redskins' owner, Dan Snyder, has been clear he will not change the name and because the team is privately owned, he does not legally have to.

NBC News reports in some places, protesters have stationed themselves with signs outside of stadiums where the Redskins are playing, hoping to force the name change soon.