Gov. McAuliffe’s opinion about nickname hinges on economics


Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). (AP)

RICHMOND – As long as the Washington Redskins contribute to the state’s economy, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) won’t get involved in the controversy over the team’s nickname, he said Friday.

During a visit to training camp here, McAuliffe reaffirmed his support for Virginia businesses in general and the Redskins specifically, essentially saying he’s cool with the team’s nickname. If the Redskins prosper financially, Virginia does as well – and that’s all about which McAuliffe cares.

“Listen, I’ve continuously said it is not up to a governor to tell a private business what to do with their business,” he said. “I’m about growing our economy, diversifying our economy. I’m not in the business of telling private businesses what to do.

“I want businesses here. We need to grow and diversify the economy. Voters elected me to get jobs. This team here is helping me get jobs.”

McAuliffe provided a new twist to the conversation with his comments; many politicians have come out in favor of changing the team’s nickname.

The Redskins recently initiated an ill-advised campaign on social media as part of their effort to respond to Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) – who has publicly called for the team to change its nickname because he says it’s widely considered to be a slur against Native Americans. McAuliffe acknowledges many people have taken sides in the debate. But the Redskins make those dollars, though, so it’s all good for McAuliffe.

“Listen, people are going to do the decisions they’re going to do,” he said. “I come at this as the governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am the chief jobs creation officer. That is my job. My job is to grow an economy. I have a team here that is growing our economy. Just look in those stands. Look at the economic activity. I’ll be hosting the team over at the (governor’s) mansion on Tuesday night.

“I am appreciative of what the Washington Redskins have meant to the commonwealth of Virginia. All the players live in Virginia. Most of the season-ticket holders, I’m told, are Virginians. Everybody comes at it from a different perspective. My perspective as governor is, I love the economic activity. I need to grow the economic activity of the commonwealth of Virginia, and the team is helping me do that.”

What’s ahead:

Washington began its Friday morning practice at 8:35. Here’s our camp guide, if you’re planning to attend.

Also from The Post:

Mike Jones’s observations from Day 8 | Images from Richmond

Kicker competition will go down to ‘the very last minute’

Wise: Training camp’s preferred flavor? Vanilla.

Clark and Moss perfect the art of playing into their mid-30s

More NFL coverage: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

Jason Reid is a sports columnist with the Washington Post. He joined the Post’s Redskins team in 2007 after 15 years covering many beats at the Los Angeles Times.

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Mike Jones · August 1, 2014

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