Redskins Owner Refuses to Change Team Name, Sets Up Group to Focus on ‘Genuine’ Native American Issues

Redskins Owner Refuses to Change Team Name, Sets Up Group to Focus on 'Genuine' Native American Issues

Dan Snyder says he was reassured that the name was not offensive after meeting with dozens of tribal groups

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder on Monday announced the formation of a Native American advocacy organization to address matters facing the community that he said are more important than the controversy surrounding his NFL team's name.

“They have genuine issues they truly are worried about, and our team's name is not one of them,” Snyder wrote in a letter sent to Redskins fans, announcing the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.

Also read: Redskins Boycott: 76 Media Outlets and Journalists Oppose Name of Washington NFL Team

“I've been encouraged by the thousands of fans across the country who support keeping the Redskins tradition alive,” Snyder wrote. “Most — by overwhelming majorities — find our name to be rooted in pride for our shared heritage and values.”

The NFL team has been under immense pressure for decades to change what many consider an offensive name, but the heat turned up in 2013 after panelists at a February Smithsonian conference deemed the moniker “racist.”

Dozens of local and national news outlets and both the District of Columbia government and Congress have called on the owner to change the team's name.

Also read: Could ‘Washington Bravehearts’ Solve the NFL's Redskins Controversy?

But billionaire owner Snyder disagrees and has adamantly refused in the past to give in to demands to rename the Redskins.

“We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps,” Snyder told USA Today in May 2013.

In Monday's letter, Snyder said the criticism did prompt him to open a dialogue with and find out what issues affect Native Americans.

“I wanted and needed to hear firsthand what Native Americans truly thought of our name, our logo, and whether we were, in fact, upholding the principle of respect in regard to the Native American community,” Snyder wrote.

Also read: Is ESPN Dropping the Ball by Using the Term ‘Redskins’ on ‘MNF?’

“The mission of the Original Americans Foundation is to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities. With open arms and determined minds, we will work as partners to begin to tackle the troubling realities facing so many tribes across our country,” he continued.

Snyder wrote in the letter that the organization's establishment follows four months of travel and meetings with tribal groups that opened his eyes to the “heart wrenching” socioeconomic realities many Native Americans across the country face.

He added that in those travels, he was by those within the community that the Redskins name was not offensive to Native Americans and instead celebrated their culture and values — but the Redskins as an organization needed to do more.

  • DCGirl

    Good for you, Mr. Snyder. HTTR forever!!!

    • dso1

      You better believe it!

  • dso1

    Lanny Davis, Democratic strategist, is representing the Redskins against these idiots that won't let it go. Mr. Snyder will sell the team before he changes the name. Go Skins!

  • Charles Freeman

    I'd love to hear directly from those “tribal groups” that Snyder met with in apparent total secrecy and see what they have to say. Also, I wonder if Snyder was smart enough to pay them off in cash, thus eliminating a paper trail.

    • Toby

      The one quote from the chairwomen of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe, that tribe is less than 700 people, owns a 14000 sq foot casino and a travel center, has shady dealings with federal TANF funding in the past, some 123 millions dollars worth, so evidently Dan went and had a few cocktails and talked about “rez” life. I am a member of the largest and poorest tribe in California, Dan did not visit here.

  • RogerW

    What I find amazing is that the whiney “PC” crowd gladly takes aim at
    the Washington Redskins while ignoring schools across the country that are still
    using the SAME team name. One of those schools is Red Mesa High in Arizona — located on a Navajo reservation. That's right. A Navajo reservation school known as the “Red Mesa High REDSKINS.” And apparently the nearly 100% Navajo student body has zero problem with it.
    Gee. You know why?
    Because it's a FABRICATED issue that doesn't really offend anyone. It just gives the ‘progressive’ crowd something to b**ch and moan about so they can keep their names in the paper and their face on TV (hi, Bob Costas!). America is tired of liberals telling them what they should and shouldn't be ‘offended’ by. America can think for itself – they don't need Bob Costas and the Huffington Post to serve as the moral compass of the country. Seriously. If “Redskins” causes you gastric distress and tailspins you into a black pit of despair, you've got far deeper problems than renaming a football team will take care of.

    • Toby

      Once the national team falls, the rest will follow. Dan uses the public schools as examples of why he wants to keep the name, the schools use Dan's team as an example of why they can continue to use the slur. So we have to hit the most visible in order to eradicate them all. It is not a fabricated issue tho, natives are tired of white people telling us what we can and cannot be offended by, thanks for your understanding!

  • DN

    This protest is not genuine, or the Cleveland Indians would be talked about as much as the Redskins. Never mind the word, Indian, being out of date, have you seen that logo?! That is offensive.

    • Toby

      we are protesting the Cleveland team's “wahoo”, just because you don't hear about it doesn't mean it isn't happening.

  • Barrs Saulzberg

    seems like a couple of tribes want some hush money, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.