Dan Snyder announced the creation of a foundation to assist American Indian tribes on Monday. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Opposition to the Washington Redskins' nickname has gained increased traction as more public figures endorse the growing sentiment that the name "Redskins" is racially insensitive and needs to be changed. Earlier this week, Redskins owner Dan Snyder launched the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, a charitable effort that has been denounced by opponents of the name as nothing more than a publicity stunt to diffuse the criticism directed Snyder's way.
Snyder may have been hoping the foundation would direct attention elsewhere, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid became the latest Washington politician with a captive audience to apply pressure, calling the gesture “a phony deal, like everything [owner Daniel Snyder has] done” and predicting the Redskins will change their name within the next three years.
“Dan Snyder, he’s got a great new deal,” Reid told the Washington Post. “He’s going to throw a few blankets to the Indians and get a tax deduction for it. I can’t imagine why the man doesn’t realize that the name is going to change. It’s only a question of when it’s going to change. That’s the only question.
“And Snyder has to realize, he is on the losing side of history. And the sooner he does it, the better off we are. The Wizards, you know, they were the Washington Bullets. With all the killing that took place, the murders in Washington, Abe Pollin -- a very nice man -- decided ‘I don’t need any of this.’ So they changed it to the Washington Wizards. We’re all used to the Washington Wizards. And I don’t know what [the Redskins will] change the name to, but we’ll get used to it really quick.”
Reid's points reflect an opinion that has gained strength in recent years, but the support for the name within a large portion of the fan base makes it hard for any change to come so quickly.
If a name change were to take place, it likely would not happen over the course of a few years, and the debate would still rage on as to whether the franchise and NFL made the right move.