At a time when the Redskins are receiving more pressure than ever to change their name but not nearly enough to move the needle in the direction of actually changing it, the man who calls the shots has settled the debate.
“We will never change the name of the team,” Snyder tells Erik Brady of USA Today. “As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.”
Pressed on whether any external forces could force a change, Snyder became strident: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Snyder, like many fans of the team, doesn’t view the word as anything potentially offensive, but simply as the name of the football team he loves. At some point, the word assumes a different reality, and the connection to anything potentially offensive or troubling is coincidental, and ultimately irrelevant.
Although the chances of the team’s name changing while Snyder owns it can officially be pegged at nil, never is a long time. It’s impossible to rule out a change in the future, especially since support for the name has dropped from 89 percent to 79 percent in the past generation.
Defiance from Snyder could actually accelerate the process, motivating those who otherwise are complacent about the issue to take a position and act on it.
Regardless, it’s Snyder’s team and he can call it whatever he wants. Absent real and compelling political, legal, or economic pressure, the Redskins will continue to be the Redskins.