Washington Redskins have been criticized about the team’s name before. It’s
nothing particularly new.
However, more so than in years past, it has garnered comments from a range of people from congressman and Native Americans to national commentators and local politicians to the team’s owner and the owner of its arch rival in the NFC East.
Last night, during the Loudoun Board of Supervisors meeting, Board Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) weighed in, saying he was defending a local business. While he didn’t identify the person by name, York was clearly directing his comments at NBC’s Bob Costas.
During halftime of the Washington-Dallas Cowboys game Sunday night, Costas called the name “an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent.”
York said when Costas “opened up his pie hole” he didn’t understand the history of the name, created at a time when Native Americans played for and coached the team.
“It’s just a shame the one individual who for apparent reason doesn’t understand the history and tradition and wants to stick his nose in something,” York said.
Costas’ remarks appeared to come in part as a response to Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder’s letter to season ticket holders. In the letter Snyder defended the name, pointing not only to the Native Americans tied to the team when the name was changed from the Boston Braves to the Boston Redskins, but also to the nostalgia of holding his father’s hand during games at RFK stadium.
“The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor,” Snyder wrote in the letter. “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. 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.”
In the letter, Snyder pointed to a survey that found 90 percent of Native Americans do not find the name offensive. He also pointed to a study that found 11 percent of Native Americans would like the name changed.
Snyder’s comments followed remarks made by President Barack Obama, in which he said he would consider changing the name if he were the team's owner.
"I've got to say that 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 sizeable group of people, I'd think about changing it," Obama said during an interview with the Associated Press.
Earlier this year, ten members of congress urged the team to change its name.
Snyder received support from an unlikely source: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said prior to the game Sunday that Snyder is "not insensitive at all" and is "weighing the enormous sentiment towards the tradition ... ," according to a story in the Washington Post.
The Post has also reported on a contest to find a new logo for the team.
What do you think? And regardless of your thoughts on the name, what do you think the chances are of it changing in the next 10 years? Twenty years?