Change the Mascot Responds to Presidential Candidate Governor Jeb Bush Over His Stated Support for NFL Team’s Racist Name

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Following Bush’s comments defending the use of the dictionary-defined R-word slur by the Washington NFL team, the Change the Mascot campaign released the following statement in response.

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This should be a very simple open-and-shut issue in the 2016 campaign: No presidential candidate should be promoting this racial slur against Native Americans.

Presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush today made comments defending the racist name of the Washington NFL team.

“I don’t think it should change it…I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive…It’s a sport, for crying out loud. It’s a football team…I’m missing something here, I guess.”

In response, the Change the Mascot campaign, a national grassroots organization, today released the following statement:

“Social science research has shown that the NFL’s promotion of the R-word racial slur has particularly serious effects on Native American children.

“Recently, the governor has used offensive language to describe immigrants and he has denigrated America’s multicultural heritage. Now he is endorsing the NFL’s preferred racial slur against Native Americans. That is disappointing, but sadly not surprising. In recent weeks it emerged publicly that one of his major donors is the Washington NFL team’s owner -- a billionaire who has a direct financial interest in continuing to promote this racial slur.

“What is surprising is that in promoting the use of this slur, the governor somehow believes he speaks for Native Americans and can assert that Native American people do not find this slur offensive. He clearly is missing something. What is even more appalling is the governor’s declaration that because he personally doesn’t find this slur offensive, that makes it acceptable.

“This should be a very simple open-and-shut issue in the 2016 campaign: No presidential candidate should be promoting this racial slur against Native Americans.”

Bush made the comments on the inaugural episode of the new radio program “The Arena” hosted by ABC News' Rick Klein and ESPN’s Andy Katz, set to debut this Friday at 2 p.m. on Sirius XM’s POTUS Channel 124.

Change the Mascot is a grassroots campaign that works to educate the public about the damaging effects on Native Americans arising from the continued use of the R-word. This civil and human rights movement has helped reshape the debate surrounding the Washington team’s name and brought the issue to the forefront of social consciousness. Since its launch, Change the Mascot has garnered support from a diverse coalition of prominent advocates including elected officials from both parties, Native American tribes, sports icons, leading journalists and news publications, civil and human rights organizations and religious leaders.

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Joel Barkin
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