Effort to defend Redskins name continues to backfire

AP

The effort to continue to defend the Redskins name continues to backfire.

From the reliance on high school teams using the name (which has been quietly abandoned) to the “all caps never” approach (which has been publicly abandoned) to stubborn reliance on the results of a nine-year old poll (which should be abandoned) to Rick Reilly misquoting his father-in-law (which could lead to Reilly’s wife abandoning him), it has been a mess for the Redskins.

And now it gets even messier.

In his “we hear the opponents but we don’t care” manifesto to Redskins fans, owner Daniel Snyder shoehorned a reference to one of the most popular figures in team history.

“In 1971, our legendary coach, the late George Allen, consulted with the Red Cloud Athletic Fund located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and designed our emblem on the Redskins helmets,” Snyder wrote.  “Several years later, Coach Allen was honored by the Red Cloud Athletic Fund.  On the wall at our Ashburn, Virginia, offices is the plaque given to Coach Allen — a source of pride for all of us.”

Apart from failing to mention that George Allen created the Red Cloud Athletic Fund, Snyder and/or his people also neglected to check with the group about its views.

In response to Snyder’s letter, the primary beneficiary of the Red Cloud Athletic Fund has denounced the ongoing use of the team name.

“As an organization, Red Cloud Indian School has never — and will never — endorse the use of the name ‘Redskins,'” leadership of the school wrote in a letter to the Washington Post.  “Like many Native American organizations across the country, members of our staff and extended community find the name offensive.”

The group also contends that Snyder misrepresented the Red Cloud Athletic Fund’s role in the development of the team’s helmet logo.

“We call on Dan Snyder and managers to engage in further discussion with Native groups across the country and, ultimately, to move toward changing the name, once and for all,” the letter states.

So the people who gave that plaque to George Allen — the plaque that according to Snyder remains on the wall at the team facility as a source of pride — want Snyder to change the name.

On Sunday morning, Oneida Indian Nation called upon Snyder to write a new letter acknowledging the errors and omissions in his first letter.

“Mr. Snyder must set the record straight and immediately send a new letter to season tickets holders highlighting these misrepresentations and omissions,” Joel Barkin, Vice President of Communications for the Oneida Indian Nation, said in a statement.  “Mr. Snyder should stop trying to rewrite history and instead rewrite his misleading and inaccurate letter and stop pretending that the targets of the R-word slur support his agenda.”

Meanwhile, if Snyder or any other members of the organization dial up while in Dallas the Cowboys’ flagship radio station, they possibly will hear a commercial touting the bipartisan opposition to the name.

“This country may still be politically divided, but as leaders of both parties this week said, we should all be able to agree that racial slurs are unacceptable, and they shouldn’t be used to market this country’s capital city,” Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation says in the ad.  “As Native people who heard this painful slur when we were taken at gunpoint off our lands, we aren’t asking for anything more than basic respect.  We don’t deserve to be treated to racial slurs.  We deserve to be treated simply as what we are:  Americans.”

It’s unclear what the next step will be, but it is clear that, no matter how badly Snyder wants this controversy to go away, it isn’t.  The debate now has legs in large part because of the way Snyder’s organization has handled it.

Correction, mishandled it.

38 responses to “Effort to defend Redskins name continues to backfire

  1. I’m not a fan of the Washington football team at all. However I must ask does Daniel Snyder come across as a complete buffoon to fans of the team as he does to those outside of the teams fan base?

  2. Well, even if you’re supporting Snyder, it’s hard to view that letter as anything but an embarrassment.

  3. Oof. Major blunder by Snyder.

    At this rate, Snyder’s going to wind up costing himself more in money and PR with all this flailing against the way modern culture has developed.

    Just bite the bullet and do it, Danny – the momentum’s only building harder and harder against you.

  4. The name is going to be changed. That became imminent the moment Redskins legends Darrell Green and Art Monk gave the name-change validity.

  5. Maybe I am oversimplifying this, but wouldn’t the easiest solution be for the offended parties to just offer Snyder $1.5-$2 billion buy the team and change the name? Sure it’s above the current going rate but it’s a descent investment.

  6. One would think in some ways that Snyder would want to change the name. Think of all the jerseys and merch with a new name and logo that would be sold.

    And yes, there would no doubt be a small core of fans who refused to buy swag with the new logo, but overall they would see an increase in merch sales for several years to come.

  7. It’s not a racial slur. And the hyperbole in this latest hysterical rant is way too thick to be taken seriously.”Total mess”, really?

    Efforts in keeping the name are about one thing: not allowing the hysterical to gain any social control in the country. The hysterical never stop.

    Remember, per this site, “shehawks” is also a slur now, because they said so and somewhere some group, if you look hard enough, will agree. They hysterical never stop.

    If you agree it’s a slur then you are required to ask yourself what is next because at some point, you who are too uncomfortable to do anything but agree it’s a slur, the hysterical will come after something that actually affects you and will be outside of sports. The hysterical don’t stop. These are the people who say kids can’t play tag at recess, cops in communication in apprehending a suspect shouldn’t use basic race in description, anything with sugar in it must be taxed. They hysterical. don’t. ever. stop.

    And to insist the name is suddenly a slur, is, hysterical. This whole argument isn’t even about the name.

  8. It’s not a racial slur. And the hyperbole in this latest hysterical rant is way too thick to be taken seriously.”Total mess”, really?

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    exactly, Johnnyoclock. this guy is never going to stop until he gets his way. the awesome thing? he’s never going to get his way. ever. i have joined the cause to keep the name and i couldn’t personally care less about the Redskins team. but i will do everything in my power to make sure it stays. forever. if i have to write letters, sign petitions, i don’t care. the name stays.

  9. The Washington Americans has a nice ring to it: it’s accurate, inclusive, can be very inspiring, and is still available. Of course it would be good for any city in the country, but being our nation’s capital city, it seems tremendously appropriate. Kids have no history with the Redskins name, so they won’t mind, and the First People may even get a boost from it – after all, there would be no reason to change the logo, and when was the last time we thanked them for giving us what they did? Not a bad way to honor the red men who survive.

  10. Slowly…slowly…slowly…the pro racist slur crowd is beginning to realize that the rest of the world will move forward, with or without them…Snyder included…

  11. For those of you who still claim to not realize that it’s racist, google “George Preston Marshall” (the owner, who changed it to “Redskins”) and “racism”…it wasn’t Brad Paisley-style accidental racism… 🙂

  12. The Washington Americans has a nice ring to it: it’s accurate, inclusive, can be very inspiring, and is still available. Of course it would be good for any city in the country, but being our nation’s capital city, it seems tremendously appropriate. Kids have no history with the Redskins name, so they won’t mind, and the First People may even get a boost from it – after all, there would be no reason to change the logo, and when was the last time we thanked them for giving us what they did? Not a bad way to honor the red men who survive.

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    But then those who have different ethnical backgrounds will ne mad because they aren’t included

  13. hope the REDSKINS fans & every NFL fan stick together & not let them change the name these people ( politico nuts ) wont stop until they get rid of football enough is enough

  14. Notoriousjebus said it right! Let them buy the team and they can name it whatever they would like.

    And for all of you that like the Braves??…just wait…it will offend someone in the next year or so…and we will be in the same situation again.

    Worry about your own lives and quit placing your drama on everyone else’s!!!

    They are the Washington Redskins. And they are an NFL team.

    Try and Focus more on keeping your drunk relative off the road and killing someone…Or clean your house or something.

  15. When I was in high school, several mascots for football teams were taken from the work of some of the fathers of the students in each school. One team was and is the Miners, another the Farmers, and another is the Beetdiggers. The names were and are used to identify the players with the characters, to take pride in that identification, to build unity. They did not adopt those names because they intended to dishonor them.

    The notion that a sports team picks a mascot in order to denigrate it is irrational. Do the Patriots hate America? Do the Vikings hate Scandinavians? Do the Packers want to advance the cause of vegetarianism? Are the Giants trying to advance the cause of dwarves?

    Stand outside the stadium as Washington fans are entering before a game and hold up a sign saying “I hate Redskins”. Will the fans cheerily slap you on the back because they agree? Or will they rip the sign from your hands because you have insulted them, who identify themselves as Redskins with team jerseys and jackets and hats?

    If the name is changed, I suggest the new name be the “7th Cavalry” with a logo depicting Colonel Custer, certainly the diametric opposite of a Redskin, and see how the critics like it.

  16. It’s just pathetic how all these media talking heads try to make this into some great civil rights issue in order to please the liberal media and get their photo in the liberal newspapers.

    Only 11% of the population thinks that the name should be changed. So most of us citizens “get it.” Every Indian tribe in the vicinity laugh and say that they are not offended and most of them are Redskin fans. Then they close by asking why the press isn’t devoting this time to publicizing real American Indian problems: huge chronic unemployment and lack of access to a good education among them.

    And this is true. When this issue eventually plays itself out, Native Americans will be pushed aside and forgotten again, with no attention to their real problems.

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