SPORTS

Millennials Want The Washington Football Team To Change Its Name

But the support plummets when you consider those over age 29.

A growing number of Americans -- especially young people -- think the Washington football team should change its name, according to a recent poll.

Public Policy Polling looked at what different demographics thought about the current name of the NFL team, which is offensive to many Native Americans. Among those ages 18 to 29, 70 percent said the team should change its name.

But that support plummets when you consider those over age 29. Among 30 to 45 year olds, only 22 percent favored a change. That number drops to 19 percent among 46 to 65 year olds, and 18 percent for anyone older.

Overall, 64 percent of the poll's 410 responders said that the team should keep the name, compared to the 25 percent who support ditching it. But opinions are clearly shifting. The same poll, released in 2014, found 71 supported keeping the name while 18 percent said the team should pick a new one. 

“These survey results confirm what we have sensed in so many different ways over the last few years: namely, that more and more Americans want the National Football League to start respecting people of color and stop marketing a dictionary-defined racial slur,” said Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter in a statement.“The NFL faces a critical choice: it can continue to try to promote, market and profit off an ugly epithet and alienate an increasingly large share of its potential fans, or it can stand on the right side of history and make a change.”

The poll was released on Feb. 5, but received little notice until the New York Daily News' Chuck Modiano wrote about it last week. 

Public opinion and protests -- even the comments of President Obama -- don't seem to have made an impact on team owner Daniel Snyder. Despite pressure in recent years to abandon the racially insensitive name, Snyder and other executives have said they'll never give it up. The name "really means honor, respect," Snyder told ESPN in 2014. 

The recent poll suggests that there are strong differences of opinion along generational and racial lines.

Among different racial groups, Latinos expressed the strongest support for changing the name, with 51 percent in favor, followed by African-Americans at 39 percent. Black people, however, were the most evenly divided on the issue, with 38 percent saying the name should stay. 

Only 15 percent of whites supported changing the name, while 77 percent opposed it. Among those who didn't identify as one of the racial options in the poll, there was strong support for changing the name, with 56 percent in favor. 

Men and women didn't show strong differences of opinion. A quarter of each gender said the team should change its name, and 61 percent of women compared to 67 percent of men opposed a change. 

Even among people who identify as "very liberal," 51 percent said the team should not change its name. This ratio held fairly steady for the "somewhat liberal" and moderates, but ballooned to 74 percent of "somewhat conservative" responders opposing a change and 94 percent of "very conservative" people.

The fight over the team name is in the courts, too. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office moved to strip the team of its trademark registration for the name in 2014, but that won't take effect while the team appeals the decision.

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