News & Politics

Jeb Bush Says Washington’s NFL Team, Which Plays in Maryland, Should Be Called the "Northern Virginia Redskins"

Photograph by Flickr user Michael Vadon.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is really taking Dan Snyder‘s $100,000 donation to his Right to Rise super PAC to heart, so much so that he’s made his defense of the name of Snyder’s NFL franchise a regular part of his stump speech.

It’s a bit of an about-face for the former Florida governor. Bush told SiriusXM’s POTUS channel last month that not only does he think the team’s name—which many perceive as a slur against Native Americans—should go unchanged, he also thinks politicians should avoid wading into a professional sports team’s branding issues. “I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that,” Bush said.

But that line didn’t do much for Bush, who continues to trail in the crowded field for the GOP’s 2016 nomination, with just 7.3 percent support in Real Clear Politics’s most recent average of national polls, far behind the party’s frontrunner, real-estate magnate and novelty balloon Donald Trump. These days, the Washington Post reports, Bush is mentioning his support for the Washington team’s name on the hustings.

“I don’t think we need to be so politically correct, and try to, through government, take the name Redskins off,” Bush said in New Hampshire on Wednesday. “If that’s what they want, leave them alone, for crying out loud.

But as a presidential candidate trying to establish right-wing bona fides to a primary electorate that is rejecting candidates with experience in government, Bush has to give his team-name defense a bit of an anti-Washington twist.

“And someone sent me an e-mail and said ‘Jeb, the term Redskins isn’t the pejorative; it’s Washington that’s the pejorative,’ ” Bush added. “If they’re going to change their name, I don’t know what you’d call it, Northern Virginia Redskins or something like that.

That’s cute, but a bit inaccurate. While the team’s front office and practice facility are located in Ashburn, it has little else to do with Northern Virginia. Here’s a map of important team-related sites Bush can consult if he continues to include these lines in his speeches.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.