If President Obama owned the Washington Redskins, he would consider changing the team's name, he told the Associated Press in an exclusive interview released Saturday.
"I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things," he said, citing controversy surrounding the NFL team's name that many deem offensive to native Americans.
An avid sports fan, Obama said his comments were not intended to criticize the Redskins organization or its fan base in the Washington D.C. area.
"They love their team and rightly so," he said of the team's loyal following inside the beltway.
But team loyalty, according to the president, should not override the feelings of "a sizable group of people" who believe the Redskins name is offensive."
Other professional sports teams, such as the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians, have come under pressure to change their team names and mascots.
Those symbols, critics say, reinforce long-standing, negative stereotypes of native Americans in sports culture.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell recently stated the league should take into account the offensive nature of the Redskins name and others that portray American Indians as caricatures.
The Redskins organization is currently waging a legal battle over trademark rights to the team name with American Indian interest groups.
A handful of congressional lawmakers are also pushing legislation on Capitol Hill to ban the Redskins from seeking federal trademark protection for the team name.