Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has previously said that he wouldn't change the name of his team, a stance he upheld in a letter he sent out today. The Redskins owner has been under pressure from numerous groups and individuals, including President Barack Obama, to change the name of the Washington, D.C. team to something less racially offensive.
The push to change the Redskins name comes from the Oneida Indian Nation. Tribe members plan to meet with NFL officials next month on getting the name changed. This news prompted Snyder to send a letter to the fans, and he is adamant that the name won't be changed.
"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," Snyder said in the lengthy letter. "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."
Snyder also said that the vast majority of people who responded to an April poll about the issue don't think the Redskins name should be changed. "In an April 2013 Associated Press survey, 79% of the respondents stated the Washington Redskins should not change their name, while only 11% believed the team’s name should change," Snyder wrote.
President Obama weighed in on the Redskins name over the weekend and said he would ditch the name. “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team--even if it had a storied history--that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it,” Obama said.
Do you think the Redskins name should be changed? Respond below.
Obamas more worried about Indians getting mad about the Redskins name than he is about the fact that our government is shut down #makessense
— Levi Plocher (@l_plocher20) October 10, 2013
As a DC Sports fan, I have to say Dan Snyder's letter is a low point in our history
— Richard Kirby (@therichardkirby) October 10, 2013
Not all Native Americans are bothered by the Redskins name, including Robert Green, retired Chief of the Fredericksburg area Patawomeck Tribe. “Frankly, the members of my tribe--the vast majority--don’t find it offensive," Green said. The chief also said that as a long-time Redskins fan, he'd be offended if the name was changed.
More information about progress in the push to change the Redskins name can be found on the Change the Mascot website. The website tracks teams with "racially insensitive" names or mascots from the high school level to the professional level. One success mentioned is when the Peoria Chiefs, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, changed its logo from an American Indian to a Dalmatian fire chief back in 2003.