Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder gave his lengthiest defense of the franchise's nickname to date on Monday.
Speaking to former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley on ESPN 980, Snyder spoke mostly about how those criticizing the name should be focusing instead on the issues many Native Americans face in reservation life, including unemployment, lack of healthcare and lack of clean water, among others.
Snyder reiterated that the Redskins are a "historic football team" that "honors and respects people."
The owner emphasized how his recent visits to Native American tribes over several months taught him that "they love" the team, as well as other professional sports teams with Native American-themed mascots.
From The Washington Post:
"You know, it’s sort of fun to talk about the name of our football team, because it gets some attention for some of the people that write it, that need clicks, or what have you. But reality is, no one ever talks about what’s going on on reservations, the fact that they have such high unemployment rates, health care issues, education issues, environmental issues, lack of water, lack of electricity.
"No one wants to talk about that stuff, because it’s not cocktail, chit-chat-talk, it’s a real-life need, real-life issues. And I think they don’t want to focus on that, and I dedicated an effort to do that."
Snyder and team management have faced growing criticism over the past year for "Redskins" being an inappropriate, degrading nickname.
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In recent weeks, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the name should be changed, as did CBS NFL host James Brown. A federal judge decided not to use the name in a court case involving the team, and an Indian tribe rejected a donation from Snyder's Original Americans Foundation.
Snyder and Redskins management have continually defended the nickname.
Snyder's entire comments can be read here.
- Ben Estes