- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
Owner Snyder addresses ‘Redskins’ name dispute
Question of the Day
The man who ultimately gets to decide whether the name stays or goes offered his thoughts on the matter Tuesday in a letter to season-ticket holders, the first time he has addressed at length the change-the-name campaign that has picked up momentum this year.
The tone of the letter suggests that no change is under consideration.
“I’ve listened carefully to the commentary and perspectives on all sides, and I respect the feelings of those who are offended by the team name,” the letter states. “But I hope such individuals also try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans too.”
The letter recalls Snyder’s experience when he attended his first Redskins game at age 6 and cites polls and anecdotal evidence that indicate support for the name from Native Americans. It also states that the original Boston Redskins had a Native American coach in the 1930s before the franchise relocated to Washington, even though research shows that it is unclear whether William “Lone Star” Dietz was an actual Indian or whether he stole the identity of a missing man from the Oglala Sioux tribe.
“The name was never a label,” Snyder’s letter states. “It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.”
While there have been groups calling for a name change for decades, a series of events this year has put the Redskins on the defensive like never before. Snyder has hired Lanny Davis, an adviser in the Clinton White House who specializes in managing political crises, as an adviser on the matter. The letter released Tuesday shows more sensitivity than the owner’s last on-the-record comment on the topic, when he told USA Today in May: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER _ you can use caps.”
In recent months, local leaders in Washington and some members of Congress have called for a name change, and some media outlets have stopped using the name. It is also the subject of a long-running legal challenge from a group of American Indians seeking to void the team’s federal trademark protection.
Indian activist Suzan Shown Harjo, a major figure in the trademark case before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was unimpressed with Snyder’s letter. She disputed several points, including the reference to Dietz, whom she said is part of the team’s “time-dishonored history of putting up pseudo-Indians as part of their promotion.”
Harjo also rebuffed an assertion by Snyder that the team has an obligation to its fans to preserve its heritage.
“Part of that heritage and tradition is name-calling, belittling and maligning Native Peoples,” Harjo said in an email to The Associated Press. “The n-word was traditional and had quite a heritage, too. Happily, not all traditions are carried on forever.”
Last week, President Barack Obama told The Associated Press that he would “think about changing” the name if he owned the team. This week, the NFL said it will meet with representatives from the Oneida Indian Nation, which has been airing radio commercials pushing for a change. Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that the league needs to “carefully listen” to critics of the name and “make sure we’re doing what’s right.”
Like Harjo, Oneida representative Ray Halbritter differed with the interpretation of the team’s history in Snyder’s letter. Oneida said the team’s nickname “was deliberately designed to denigrate people of color.”
“Unfortunately that ploy was successful,” Halbritter said in a statement. “The marketing of this racial slur has had _ and continues to have _ very serious cultural, political, and public health consequences for my people and Native Americans everywhere. It is clear from Mr. Snyder’s letter that he does not understand those consequences.”
In the statement, Halbritter invited Snyder to take part in the tribe’s upcoming meeting with the NFL.
The president could pay the full price for ignoring Congress
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, slams Obama's handling of Iraq
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- BERMAN & MADYOON: An Iranian-Turkish reset
- MAY: Barbarians at Jordan's gate
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq