The Redskins never will be able to change their name as long as the only official word from their owner is that he’ll never do it.
On Wednesday, the team began the process of getting Snyder out of the corner into which he has painted himself.
The message was sent not by Snyder but by outside counsel Lanny Davis, who admitted that Snyder’s comments were too strong — and that Snyder won’t be using those words again. Davis also concedes, in a roundabout way, that his client can be a bit of a jerk.
“There are parts of Dan Snyder that I find extremely likeable, I think he’s a good guy — wish he would let people know that — but saying all caps isn’t the side of Dan Snyder that I want him to project,” Davis told Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier of 106.7 the Fan. (Note that Davis didn’t say the comment falsely portrays Snyder. Instead, Davis said it shows an aspect of Snyder’s personality that Davis would prefer remain hidden from public view.)
“I let my opinions be known,” Davis added. “Dan brought me in, and I don’t always tell him what he wants to hear sometimes, and I think that’s why he wants me around, because I get him irritated by telling him what he doesn’t want to hear, but I’m a friend and I’m allowed to do that.”
That’s precisely what Snyder needs — someone in the inner circle who will point out that the emperor is butt-naked on a horse, and whom the emperor won’t behead (or at least fire) for saying so.
“[T]he answer is no, I don’t think saying ‘all caps, never’ is the right tone,” Davis said. “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.”
If that’s what Snyder should have said, why doesn’t he say it now? Though it’s admirable that Snyder has found a way to pivot from a comment that serves only to harden positions and recruit opponents, he should be saying it, not Davis.
Even if/when Snyder says it, the fundamental problem won’t change. Some want the Redskins to change their name, and the Redskins aren’t inclined to do it.
Whether the words used are “all caps, never” or “we don’t intend to offend you in any way with what we believe to be a term of honor and respect,” the end result is the same. The Redskins don’t plan to change their name.
What they plan to do, with the assistance of Lanny Davis and Frank Luntz and presumably others skilled and schooled in politics and P.R., is continue looking for a way to get people who want the name to be changed to quit pushing the issue.