President Donald Trump criticized the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians on Twitter for considering changes to their respective team names, accusing the teams of “trying to be politically correct.”
Trump tweeted Monday that the NFL’s Redskins and MLB’s Indians are “fabled sports franchises.” He also taunted Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has claimed Native American ancestry and has been a frequent target of barbs from Trump.
They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct. Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
It was the second racially charged, sports-related tweet of the day from Trump, who earlier Monday called out NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag and accused Bubba Wallace, the sport’s only Black driver, of perpetrating a “HOAX” involving a noose in his garage last month at Talladega Superspeedway.
The Redskins appear likely to change their name amid a nationwide movement to erase racially insensitive symbols, given the national focus on human rights and social justice after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
Washington coach Ron Rivera told The Washington Post on Saturday that he has been working with team owner Daniel Snyder on a new team nickname in recent weeks. The Redskins announced Friday that they will “undergo a thorough review” of the nickname after several sponsors, including FedEx, which owns the naming rights to the team’s stadium, urged the franchise to change a nickname that has been deemed offensive for decades.
The Indians also released a statement Friday, saying the organization is “committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
Trump has previously defended the Redskins’ name on Twitter. In October 2013, he tweeted that presidents “should not be telling the Washington Redskins to change their name” and accused then-President Barack Obama of “harassing the privately owned” franchise.