Well, now we know why Redskins owner Daniel Snyder met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, a day before several senior NFL executives will meet with representatives from the Oneida Indian Nation.
Snyder apparently wanted to be sure that Goodell’s message to them will be as fresh as possible: The name won’t be changed.
According to Mike Jones and Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Snyder told Goodell during their Tuesday meeting that Snyder has “no plans to change” the controversial name.
Per the Post, one source said the meeting wasn’t about changing the name; it was about gathering “information on the team’s plans for dealing with the issues involved, including assessing and addressing opposition to the name.”
That may be how the NFL explains it on Wednesday to members of the Oneida Indian Nation who may be curious about Snyder’s willingness to meet with Goodell but not with them. Still, it looks and feels like an effort by Snyder to make it clear that anyone who comes to New York to meet with the NFL on the issue is wasting their time.
Really, how did news of the meeting leak on Monday night, a day before the meeting happened? It would have been one thing for a reporter to spot Snyder entering the league offices at 345 Park Avenue in Manhattan on Tuesday. For the news to surface on Monday night, someone wanted the word to get out.
Our assessment is that Snyder and the team wanted the word to get out, because they want the Oneida Indian Nation and any other opponents to the name to realize that, while they can complain all they want, the name won’t be changing.
The specific wording of the report from Jones and Maske hints at a possible crack in the “never” faςade. If Snyder has “no plans” to change the name, his plans arguably could change.
It seems like a long shot. Then again, the latest shift in the “never” strategy, as orchestrated by outside counsel Lanny Davis, has been to never say “never.”
But the message is still “never,” and Snyder’s decision to personally convey that message to Goodell on Tuesday instead of personally delivering it directly to Oneida Indian Nation on Wednesday will do nothing to cause their opposition to the name to subside.