On the last weekend before Tuesday’s election, a super PAC supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has reached out to NFL fans who favor keeping the Washington Redskins’ controversial nickname, producing a television ad that features an interview in which Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called the name “insensitive” and said she believes in changing it.
“Yeah, you thought you were safe,” the ad begins, “sitting in your recliner in your man cave, cold beer and a bowl of chips. Ha, you thought you’d escaped politics by focusing on football. Wrong. Hillary Clinton wants to mess up your football, too. Hillary wants to change the name of the Redskins.” The ad, released by Rebuilding America Now, concludes, “Hillary’s priorities are not your priorities.”
The Redskins’ name has come under fire over the past few years, but team owner Daniel Snyder has vowed “NEVER — you can use caps” to change it, despite opposition from President Barack Obama, a number of members of Congress and other assorted politicians. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, like Snyder, has defended the name, and a Washington Post poll last spring found that nine out of 10 Native Americans are not offended by its usage.
Just over two years ago, when the topic was being widely debated, Fusion’s Jorge Ramos asked Clinton for her opinion. “Almost 50 Democratic Senators sent a letter to the NFL saying that ‘Redskins’ is a racial slur,” Ramos said. “Do you agree?”
“I think it’s insensitive, and I think that there’s no reason for it to continue as the name of a team in our nation’s capital,” Clinton responded. “I would love to see the owners think hard about what they could . . .”
“Any suggestions? Any different names?” Ramos interjected.
“No. No. I haven’t thought a lot about that,” she replied.
Trump, for his part, has gone on record as saying he feels differently.
“Honestly, I don’t think they should change the name, unless the owner wanted to,” Trump told the New York Times’ Alan Rappeport a year ago.
The campaign to change the name was, he said, another example of excessive political correctness.
“I know Indians that are extremely proud of that name,” Trump said. “They think it’s a positive.”
Given the large population of Redskins fans in Virginia, The ad most likely is part of the Trump team’s late push in the state, where Trump, Mike Pence and two of Trump’s children made appearances during the last weekend of the campaign.