In this Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, file photo, Zena "Chief Z" Williams signs autographs during fan appreciation day at the Washington Redskins' NFL football training camp at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va.
(Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)
(USA Today) -- The Washington Redskins had their attorney respond to President Obama's suggestion that the football team change its name.
"We at the Redskins respect everyone," said a statement from attorney Lanny J. Davis. "But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks (from President Obama's home town ), we love our team and its name and, like those fans, we do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group."
Obama, citing objections from Native Americans and others to the nickname "Redskins," suggested a name change when asked about it during an interview with the Associated Press.
"If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team - even if they've had a storied history - was offending a sizable group of people, I'd think about changing it," Obama told the AP.
The full statement from Davis:
"As a supporter of President Obama, I am sure the president is not aware that in the highly respected Annenberg Institute poll (taken 2004) with a national sample of Native Americans, 9 out of 10 Native Americans said they were not bothered by the name the 'Washington Redskins.'
"The president made these comments to the Associated Press, but he was apparently unaware that an April 2013 AP poll showed that eight out of ten of all Americans in a national sample don't think the Washington Redskins name should be changed.
"We at the Redskins respect everyone. But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks (from President Obama's home town ), we love our team and its name and, like those fans, we do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group.
"The name 'Washington Redskins' is 80 years old - it's our history and legacy and tradition. We Redskins fans sing 'hail to the Redskins' every Sunday as a word of honor not disparagement."