Sen. John McCainJohn McCainSenate rivals gear up for debates McCain opponent releases new ad hitting his record Why is the election so close? Experts say it's all in your head MORE (R-Ariz.) said Friday he would "probably" change the name of the Washington Redskins if he owned the NFL team.
McCain, whose state has one of the largest Native American populations in the country, said he is not offended by the Redskins name but accepts that some Native Americans are.
"If they think it's that offensive and terrible, I would certainly — probably — I'm not the owner and he has the rights of an owner, but frankly I would probably change the name," McCain said on Dan Patrick’s radio show. "Myself, I'm not offended. You're not offended. But there are Native Americans who are."
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the NFL should force Snyder to remove the "hateful" term, following the lead of the NBA, which banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racially insensitive comments.
McCain said, “I'm not sure I can connect the two” issues but urged Snyder to sit down and have a dialogue with the Native American community.
McCain is one of the few Republicans who has come out in support of a name change. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) has also called for a name change, as well as nearly every Democratic leader in Congress. President Obama has also said he would think about changing the team name if he were owner.
A poll earlier this year found nine in ten Republicans said a name change was unnecessary, compared to 59 percent of Democrats who felt the same.
Arizona has the third highest share of the country's Native Americans with 6.8 percent, trailing only behind California and Oklahoma, according to 2010 Census data.