Daniel Snyder again defends Redskins name, even as his attorney hedges
In an open letter to season-ticket holders, Washington owner Daniel Snyder again maintained that the Redskins' team name would not change. The franchise's attorney, Lenny Davis, is a little less bullish about setting that claim in stone.
"I don’t think saying 'All caps. Never' is the right tone," Davis said Wednesday. "I think saying, 'We care about people’s feelings, we’re respectful when anyone is offended, but we have this 80-year name that we love ... we sing Hail to the Redskins every Sunday at the stadium, and we say we’re part of Redskins Nation -- that’s our vocabulary. Those are terms of honor.'
"And that’s what he should have said, but he, I don’t think is going to say 'all caps. Never’ again."
True to Davis' word, Snyder did not use "never" in the letter sent out this week. But he also did not back down from the idea that his team should be able to keep its nickname.
According to the Washington Post, Snyder wrote, in part:
That tradition -- the song, the cheer -- it mattered so much to me as a child, and I know it matters to every other Redskins fan in the D.C. area and across the nation.
Our past isn’t just where we came from -- it’s who we are.
As some of you may know, our team began 81 years ago -- in 1932 -- with the name “Boston Braves.” The following year, the franchise name was changed to the “Boston Redskins.” On that inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were Native Americans. The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.
Snyder then supported his argument with two sets of statistics, plus a quote from a Patawomeck Tribe chief. He closed the letter in this manner:
I respect the opinions of those who disagree. I want them to know that I do hear them, and I will continue to listen and learn. But we cannot ignore our 81 year history, or the strong feelings of most of our fans as well as Native Americans throughout the country. After 81 years, the team name "Redskins" continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come.
We are Redskins Nation and we owe it to our fans and coaches and players, past and present, to preserve that heritage.
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The letter from Snyder came just days after The Associated Press released an interview with President Barack Obama, who said of the Redskins' name: "I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things."
Obama added that team names like Washington's offend "a sizable group of people" and that he would "think about changing it" if he were the team's owner. Barring a direct decree from the NFL, or some sort of large-scale protest that caused Snyder to lose money because of the Redskins name, there is no indication that anything will be different in the near future.