Donald Trump criticises US sports teams for considering name changes

6 July 2020, 23:03

President Trump criticised the two teams on his social media
President Trump criticised the two teams on his social media. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

President Donald Trump has criticised two US sports teams that are considering name changes, accusing the teams of "trying to be politically correct."

His comments come in the wake of a national reckoning over racial injustice and inequality in the US and worldwide.

The president tweeted: "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."

President Trump, in his tweet, also mentioned Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, saying: "Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!"

He has repeatedly mocked Ms Warren, who ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, for claiming Native American heritage, derisively calling her "Pocahontas".

The NFL's Redskins announced on Friday that they had begun a "thorough review" of their name, which has been deemed offensive by Native American groups for decades.

The Redskins' decision came after FedEx, which paid 205 million US dollars for naming rights to the team's stadium, and other corporate partners called for the team to change its nickname.

Hours later, the Indians Major League Baseball team announced that they will also review their long-debated name.

"We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality," the team said in a statement.

President Trump has spent the last few days stoking divisions and exploiting racial tensions, accusing protesters who have pushed for racial justice of engaging in a "merciless campaign to wipe out our history".

Earlier on Monday, he lashed out at Nascar and wrongly accused the sport's only full-time black driver of perpetrating "a hoax" when a crew member found a noose in the team garage stall.

President Trump had tweeted in 2013 that then-president Barack Obama "should not be telling the Washington Redskins to change their name" because "our country has far bigger problems! FOCUS on them, not nonsense".

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump took aim at so-called "cancel culture" during a impassioned speech at Mount Rushmore.

His comments at the South Dakota landmark came amid wider discussion on race issues in the US and overseas, with statues and monuments taken down either by vote or by force.

Mr Trump accused protesters pushing for racial justice of engaging in a "merciless campaign to wipe out our history".

He said: "This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore.

"We will not be terrorised, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people. It will not happen."

The speech and fireworks at Mount Rushmore came against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 125,000 Americans.

The president flew across the nation to gather a big crowd of supporters, most of them maskless and all of them flouting public health guidelines that recommend not gathering in large groups.