U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) doesn't believe the Washington Redskins should be "forced" to change their name.
Rubio made the comment on an episode of ESPN's Capital Games podcast. He also said that Washington owner Dan Snyder "should listen to voices" against the name, and that the issue shouldn't be ignored.
“The decision is up to the owner to make,” Rubio said. “I think he should take into account that there are people that are offended by it. I know there are others who feel strongly about what the name means and don’t see offense to it. He’s in the PR business; he has to sell tickets. And ultimately he’s going to face accountability from a business perspective for whatever choice he makes.”
The senator also said that Congress should play a "limited" role in oversight of professional sports.
Calls for the Redskins to change their name have grown over the past year over accusations that the nickname is racist and offensive to Native Americans. Snyder and other team officials have remained steadfast that they won't change the name.
In May, a letter signed by 50 senators urging the name be changed was sent to the NFL. Rubio did not sign the letter.
A recent poll found that a majority of NFL players asked do not believe the team needs to change its name.
Washington opens the 2014 season Sunday at the Houston Texans.
- Ben Estes