President Obama said recently that if he were the owner of the Redskins and he knew the name was "offending a sizable group of people," then he would "think about changing it."

Who does the name "Washington Redskins" really offend? In a poll by The Oneida Indian Nation, 59% of adults in the Washington region say that American Indians would have a right to feel offended if called "redskin." However National Annenberg Survey report that when 89% of report replied that the name is acceptable with only nine percent said that it was offensive. That is a smaller percentage of the 10% Americans who believe that Elvis Presley is still alive.

Although the dictionary defines the term redskin as "often disparaging and offensive", the historical significance is hotly disputed. Smithsonian Institution senior linguist and curator emeritus Ives Goddard asserts that the actual origin of the word is benign and reflects more positive aspects of early relations between Native Americans and whites.

Even if the term does carry a negative connotation in the dictionary, the semantic reality is that a single word can have multiple meanings. While the isolated term REDSKIN may be derogatory, the phrase "Washington Redskins" specifically signifies a popular football team, nothing more nothing less. As another example, the meaning of the word NIGGER depends on the context and the person using it. A black rapper addressing Jay Z as NIGGER has a different connotation than if Newt Gingrich was to use the same word to salute him.

But here in my opinion is the elephant in the room; why should the team owners bear the fiscal responsibilities of the team name change? Should the primary individual and institutional beneficiaries insisting on the change (including special interest groups like the Congressional Native American Caucus and Oneida Indian Nation) be prepared to cover the formidable operational, production and marketing costs required?