When it comes to the Redskins name, the two sides have become as entrenched as they can be. The question becomes whether enough folks who don’t have an opinion — and enough of those who have an opinion but not a strong one — will ever swing one way or the other.
Until then, the team will continue to defend the name, and the opponents of the name will continue to challenge it.
On Tuesday, owner Daniel Snyder revisited the topic, from the perspective of the foundation that recently was created to assist Native American tribes.
“We understand the issues out there, and we’re not an issue,” Snyder said in rare public remarks, via the Associated Press. “The real issues are real-life issues, real-life needs, and I think it’s time that people focus on reality.”
Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter has responded to the remarks.
“If Dan Snyder thinks it is acceptable for a billionaire to market, promote, and profit off of a dictionary defined racial slur, then he’s living in an alternate universe,” Halbritter said in a press release. “If he wants to focus on reality, here’s a reality check: The longer he insists on slurring Native Americans, the more damage he will keep doing to Native American communities, and the more he will become synonymous with infamous segregationist George Preston Marshall, who originally gave the team this offensive name.”
The opposition to the team’s name, which has lingered for more than 20 years, gained momentum in 2013, fueled in part by Snyder’s aggressive “all caps NEVER” position on when the name will change. A high-stakes P.R. game has followed, with the Redskins spending plenty of money and effort to shape their message, and the opponents of the name spending plenty of money and effort to fight the name.
The issue will continue to percolate until the name changes, or until the opponents grow weary of the effort. It doesn’t appear that either will happen any time soon.