Redskins name issue becomes a battle of the polls

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With the Redskins currently relying on a couple of polls (one of which is nine years old) in defending their name, it should have been obvious that the issue will now become a battle of differently-worded polls.

Oneida Indian Nation has released a poll that supports, in various ways, a change of the team’s name.

The poll of 500 adults in the Washington, D.C. region found that 59 percent believe Native Americans would have a right to feel offended if called “redskins.”

Also, 55 percent said a name change would not affect their support for the team.  Twenty-five percent said it would decrease their support, while 18 percent said a new name would actually increase the support.

In other words, for 73 percent of the respondents, their support for the team post-name change would either be the same or higher.

Redskins outside lawyer/damage control specialist Lanny Davis responded to the poll by saying this to USA Today:  “Dan Snyder’s letter said it all.  Dan Snyder’s letter states the reason for the name not being changed.”

(Some have criticized the accuracy of Snyder’s letter, which in part reiterates reliance on past polling.)

“You cannot poll morality, and our hope is that Mr. Snyder will demonstrate true leadership and change the offensive name, not because of what any public opinion studies show, but because it’s the right thing to do,” Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter said in a statement. “However, this polling information is valuable because it shows that the team has nothing to fear economically by changing its name.”

And so both sides remain dug in.  The Redskins won’t change the name, Oneida Indian Nation and others want the name to change, and the Redskins are committed to listening to the dissenters — presumably until the dissenters get bored and move on to something else.

It has become, then, a test of resolve.  Will the team change the name in the face of mounting pressure, or will those behind the mounting pressure decide to give up and move on?

Even if they do, the issue has reached the point where it will never completely go away.  Eventually, the opposition will be strong enough that something will need to be done.  Snyder’s best move, from a business standpoint, would be to implement change in a way that extracts concessions toward, say, getting a Super Bowl in D.C. or building a new stadium and that generates some much needed positive P.R. for his team.

65 responses to “Redskins name issue becomes a battle of the polls

  1. The Redskins name has been used for decades to celebrate Native American heritage and has changed the connotation from what once may have been a slur, give it a rest already…

  2. Hey, if Snyder can find some way to beat the battle of political correctness my hat’s off to him. Maybe he should try slaughtering his detractors and put the rest on reservations? And then throw in blankets laced with small pox for good measure? I can’t believe there are people out there that don’t realize that this is just a reminder of one of the most callous, disgusting chapters in American history.

  3. just change the logo on the helmet to a red potato if you want to keep the ”redskins” name. otherwise change the name.

  4. Ironically, it’ll end up being the fierce defenders of the name who’ll ultimately force the change. They’re already doing the damage necessary by opening their mouths.

  5. Are the opponents to the name ever going to conduct a legitimate poll of American Indians? You know, the segment of the population that is supposedly offended.

    To date, the opponents simply declare the the name to be offensive and mock the data accumulated by those who don’t agree with their position on the subject.

    Otherwise, all the opponents are doing is insulting and belittling those they claim to support. They are dictating to American Indians how they are supposed to feel about their race.

    Without more, the opposition is being fueled by narcissism and nothing else. Heaven forbid they allow anyone to look behind their curtain.

  6. If you are still on the fence about the motives behind the name simply keep reading the responses from the Washington fans and ask yourself if these are the words of people who at any moment have taken the time to consider empathy for their fellow man on this issue.

    Washington’s football team will have a new name because those who make a game more important than another human being’s heritage are choosing irrelevance in a world that is constantly moving toward inclusion and respect.

  7. gmsingh123 says:

    The reminder of how Native Americans were treated in the past can be seen in their current living conditions. High poverty rates, low life expectancy and alcoholism still plague Native American society. Rates of violent crime and rape is off the charts on reservations.

    But a football nickname gets national attention?

  8. Let’s be honest: Snyder will only use the “poll” angle when he thinks it supports his position.
    If new polls disagree with him, he’ll just shift emphasis to “it’s tradition” etc. Dan Snyder is not exactly the voice of integrity. We’ll see what happens when one or two big advertisers decide not to pay for commercials during “Redskin” games.

  9. The Redskins name has been used for decades to celebrate Native American heritage and has changed the connotation from what once may have been a slur, give it a rest already…

    Amen brother

    If the name IS forced to be changed then the State of Oklahoma’s name needs to be changed as well. It stands for land of red skinned people. If redskins is considered a slur than Oklahoma is in fact a slur as well.

  10. So if 59% feel that Native Americans have the basic right to be offended by the nickname, are they implying that a whopping 41% of those polled in DC feel that those impacted by this shouldn’t even be offended? Seriously? It’s a racial slur.

    When Curly Lambeau asked his employer (the Indian Packing Company) for money to buy equipment, I’m glad they decided on “Packers” rather than “Indians”. What a circus that would be.

  11. “Also, 55 percent said a name change would not affect their support for the team. Twenty-five percent said it would decrease their support, while 18 percent said a new name would actually increase the support.

    In other words, for 73 percent of the respondents, their support for the team post-name change would either be the same or higher.”

    Um… In other words, for 80 percent of the respondents, their support for the team without a name change would either be the same or higher.

    When 25% say something would be bad, and 18% say it would be good, why do you celebrate the 18%?!?!

  12. If people really want them to change the name they could start a fund and put their money where their mouth is. The owners don’t want to change the name because its going to cost them millions to re-brand everything.

    If they come up with an estimated cost for the renaming and the donations hit that mark then they can change the name, otherwise people just don’t give a crap enough and are just making it an issue because they can.

  13. If you phrase it correctly, you could produce a poll that says people would be interested in turd flavored corn flakes.

    But by all means, lets keep this pointless political correctness crusade going, because you aren’t being productive, unless you are telling people what to think, say and do.

  14. It would be Unconstitutional to force a name change. When dems don’t like what’s on TV, they call and complain, repubs. Just change the channel.

  15. Whats next? Changing Christmas Party to Holiday Party…? Oh, wait…

    There will never be an end to any of these liberal do gooders that always know how to parent your children, and always know what health care is best for you, and always know what name is offensive to everyone, etc. 20 years from now, thse same people will be bitching that the Washington Senators needs to be changed back to Redskins, because all f the “indian” names that pay homage to the Native Americans have been wiped out of sports. So we need a name to honor them, LMFAO.

    It always make me think of that joke about liberals versus conservatives. You can use it for anything. Lets says guns. If a conservative doesnt like guns, he wont buy one. If a liberal doesnt like guns, he writes a law outlawing them. If a conservative doesnt like soda, he doesnt drink it. If a liberal doesnt like soda he outlaws it.

    For the record, I am neither a conservative, nor a liberal. Blindly following one group and discounting the other makes you an idiot… I follow common sense. And common sense says that you cant please everyone, and America wasnt built on the idea of caving into the minority. But in todays America, if 1 person if offended by something, it gets changed (unless that 1 person is a heterosexual white male, they dont count)

  16. If every Indian in the country committed to buying new name merchandise, Snyder would have changed the name yesterday. All about the $

  17. Actually, public schools changed “Christmas break” to “Winter break” a long time ago.
    And “Easter break” to “Spring Break,” etc.
    Sure ruined this country, didn’t it? ;P
    Pesky 1st Amendment upholders.

  18. friendofinnocence says:
    Oct 16, 2013 10:06 AM
    If the Redskins cave in, the Chiefs and the Braves will be next

    Although they sport an Arrowhead on their helmets, the Chiefs are actually named by Lamar Hunt after a former KC mayor whose nickname was “The Chief”

    I’d guess they figured an arrowhead would look better on the helmet instead of an overweight mayor in a trench coat and hat.

  19. this is all about people who are unable to take on causes that actually matter…….nitpickers who claim they are making our world a better place yet achieving nothing….

    – Buccaneers are pirates, pirates are criminals… should go
    – Raiders are pirates, pirates are criminals…… should go
    – Chiefs……needs to go
    – Braves…… needs to go
    – Indians…..needs to go
    – Blackhawks…..needs to go
    – Saints…..offends anyone on the other side of the crusades…..needs to go
    – Bronco……name for a wild horse that is planned on being trained into submission……I think the notion is pretty offensive….needs to go, even though this same method needs to be applied on millions of humans
    – Padres…….some of these guys were directly involved in the relocation of many native americans and forcing religion on people…..needs to go
    – Maverick… animal waiting to be branded….needs to go
    – Sabres…..just as with the Washington Bullets, any reference to something whose design is menat to maim or kill is bad….needs to go
    – Hurricanes….they kill…..needs to go
    – Avalanche….they kill….needs to go
    – Canadiens……this may be the biggest insult of all….needs to go
    – Predators… in sexual predators? needs to go
    – Lightning….it kills….needs to go
    – Canuck……an even more derogatory term for a derogatory term (Canadien)……must go

    I just want to know when the world is going to deal with the Fighting Irish, Fighting Illini, Ragin’ Cajun, Warhawk, and others in the college realm?

    in fact, all teams names should be made the same and only a word that cannot possibly offend anyone……any thoughts?

  20. I don’t believe that 18% that says their support would increase. They respond that way only to push their agenda.

    Once the name gets changed will the poll takers go back and find out if they did increase their support? Not a chance.

  21. Maybe people that type long tirades that show little comprehension should take their own advice to try to “take on causes that actually matter”

  22. nnagi says:
    Oct 16, 2013 9:42 AM
    The Redskins name has been used for decades to celebrate Native American heritage and has changed the connotation from what once may have been a slur, give it a rest already…


    Wait… huh? Disagreeing its a slur is one thing (and in IMHO, an increasing tenuous one), but saying that any potential offense could have been cured b/c it was used by a football team in good faith? You have to be kidding me. Talk about marginalization.

    This isn’t a hollywood story about a bunch of first nation peoples pulling together their own football team, and fighting through discrimination to force others to come to terms with the majorities past wrongs…. all while doing so under the word applied to them by their oppressors as the ultimate sign of their refusal to submit. *cue the music*

  23. I need to stop reading and commenting on these articles. Florio is completely obsessed. But I wonder why he wasn’t so upset 5, 10 years ago.

  24. Polling a group of people who are likely liberal apologists is not scientifically accurate, let alone a look at a cross section of the public.

    This issue should be decided by the Native American community along with the team owner. If they can sit down and come to an agreement based on a legitimate argument, then the name should be changed.

    It is common these days to find a group of people, uneffected by something, to be offended by that something. To be offended on someone elses behalf is a waste of time.

  25. How about this, ask the Indians/Native Americans how they feel about the Cowboys name and if it offends them? If so, let’s start the movement to change that name as well. Sound ridiculous? So does the whole bloated and tired Redskins debate.


  26. ok, maybe adding a link is why my comment has been removed twice…

    if you want to know the history behind the term and why this is an idiotic debate to have, google Ives Goddard’s research on the subject, “I am a Red-Skin”. then someone pass it on to those pitching a fit about the name and let this thing pass.

    and geez, if this comment gets deleted then obviously someone doesn’t want anyone to be educated on the subject for their own reasons…

  27. So a majority of 500 D.C. area residents think Native Americans have a right to be offended. But what do the Native Americans say? 80 to 90 percent are not offended, by any of the scientific polls to date. If the opponents polled Native Americans and found a majority were offended, they might have a case. But apparently they won’t do that poll because they know what the answer will be, and prefer to rely on what white people think Native Americans ought to think. Count me among the unconvinced.

  28. If a lot of white people hadn’t taken interest & action
    “on someone elses behalf” to help bring the Civil Rights movement in the ’50s & ’60s, America would look a lot different. I’m not sure I’d call that “a waste of time.”

  29. Lance, the big difference between the Civil Rights era and this rinky dink issue is that African Americans were legitimately offended by the clearly offensive conduct directed toward them. In the case of the REDSKINS, the Native Americans DON’T CARE. Huge difference.

  30. The problem with getting it changed is that the Native Americans are too passive about it. If this was a slur against blacks there would have been rioting, violence, and destruction of Washington property. Plus, half of Hollywood would have already weighed on.

    I’m not saying there SHOULD be violence, but I think the non-confrontational approach will not work.

  31. So now the people pushing the name change have come up with a poll that shows 25% of the customer base would stop supporting the team and this is supposed to be a good thing for Snyder?

    What if Snyder created a poll that said the Oneida Nation’s casino would get 25% less revenue if they chancing their leader. Would he step down?

  32. “What if Snyder created a poll that said the Oneida Nation’s casino would get 25% less revenue if they chancing their leader. Would he step down?”

    It depends. Was the leader was a racist that displayed racists names all the time? I think that would outweigh the “25%” issue.

    Nice going on the “focus on only one aspect of the issue” argument.

  33. Desmond, you missed my point: I was specifically addressing the
    “on someone elses behalf” angle. Secondly, while YOU may deem this issue “rinky dink” you must at least be coming to realize that not everyone thinks it as trivial as you say it is. I’m not Native-American, and this doesn’t bother me as much as it does my friends who are…but I also don’t tell them their concerns are “rinky dink.”

  34. To the left, there is no difference between trying to get rid of the Redskins’ name and going to Spain in 1935 to fight Tito.

    No one who saw Bob Costas’ rant on gun control should be surprised his next rant was on the Redskins’ name.

    This issue, like gun control, is 100% political and has nothing to do with football.

  35. Someone someday will actually do a large sample size poll of actual Native Americans nationwide and maybe that will tell us what actual Native Americans think.

    I do not care what Native American activists think. I do not care what white liberals think. I do not care what the average Football or Washington fan thinks. I do care what actual Native Americans think on the whole.

    Snyder keeps using that nine year old poll because even if it is a bit old, it is the last time anyone really tried to get the pulse of the average Native American and at that time they really did not care. Prove they care now and I suspect Snyder will have no choice but to change it.

  36. Anyone who claims to be offended by the Redskins name needs to remember this… over 500 Peace Treaties were broken, changed or nullified when it served the US Government’s interest. Please read your history books people. Unless you are willing to give back the land that was taken then you do not have a leg to stand on. Changing a team name is not going to make things all better with all of the American Indian tribes. That in itself is an insult to their intelligence and great history (which has been re-written numerous times by our Government).

    Please quit with the politically correct narrative (sounds more like a personal agenda to please the Liberal Democrats to me) on this subject. It has no chance to ever come to fruition. Unless you are ready to give back the Indians their rightful claim to this land which was taken from them without their mutual consent, then please shut up. Stop making a fool of yourselves.

  37. Lance,

    I didn’t miss the issue. The difference between the Civil Rights movement, on the one hand, and this issue, on the other, is that Native Americans don’t consider the name REDSKINS offensive. Hence, it’s a rinky dink issue.

    This isn’t the first time that white folks have told Native Americans how to think, act, and feel. One shining example is the reservation. And we all know how that turned out.

  38. If this was a slur against blacks there would have been rioting, violence, and destruction of Washington property.


    They already did. It was called the Million Man March. Can you imagine if white people had a march like that? Or if whitepeople started their own TV Network called White Entertainment Television? Or if they started their own magazine called Ivory? What we should be crusading against is this ridiculous and outdated double standard. If there was a team called the Whiteskins nobody would be campaigning for a name change with an agenda claiming it’s durogatory toward whites. Oh noooooo.

  39. People who argue for keeping the name based on “tradition” need to stop. The team wasn’t even originally named the Redskins. Originally, they were the Boston Braves.

  40. Here is a key. Go unlock the cage door and quit reading this propaganda. When you see it in the title just pass it by in the same manner as you would find it pointless to argue with a drunk. These articles are written by fanatical left wing hypocrites who have never done anything for an American Indian in their life. If the name were to get changed they would move on and still do nothing about the poverty, lack of education, drug addiction and alcoholism. Leave them to their conversation. That is the worst thing you can do to them. Ignore them.
    I have written this suggestion before and in different ways as I feel my point is that they are hypocrites. Each time it gets deleted.

  41. Desmond–I didn’t say you missed “the issue,”
    I said “you missed MY point” which you continue to do.

    That said, I get that YOU don’t have a problem with “Redskin” and you’ve decided that (evidence to the contrary) Native-Americans don’t either. Since we haven’t had any reliable, sizable polls in recent years, I’m not sure why you’re so certain. And I’m not sure if you’re implying that it would be a “rinky dink” issue if,
    say, “only” 40% of Native-Americans found it offensive. I’m certainly not “telling Native Americans how to think, act, and feel…” I’m merely being supportive of Native-American friends of mine who find the term offensive.

  42. I shared this general opinion with folks way back when G Bush the first was talking about the horrors that Saddam Hussein had visited upon his own citizens, and how it was unconscionable behavior.

    Of course, there was no mention of the tens of decades of torture, genocide and oppression against the Native American.

  43. Lance, I didn’t miss your point. And what evidence do you have showing that Native Americans consider the name REDSKINS offensive? The Annenberg poll is less than 10 years old. While it wasn’t done this year, it’s close enough in time to gauge Native American sentiment on this issue, and it shows as close to a unanimity of opinion as you can get when doing polls like this.

    If you or anyone on your side of the issue have a poll or any other evidence supporting your arguments, you’d have already set them forth. Fact is, you don’t, for the good reason that there aren’t any.

    Not only does this render this issue “rinky dink,” it’s completely forecloses your view on this topic as well.

  44. “While it wasn’t done this year, it’s close enough in time to gauge Native American sentiment on this issue, and it shows as close to a unanimity of opinion as you can get when doing polls like this. ”

    How few Native Americans do you think are in this country? No simple poll can possibly take into account a majority of a given population. Likewise, what are the demographics of the poll?

    For example, if we polled the majority of black Rappers on their sensitivity to the N-word, we’d likely get a fairly mild response. Does that mean blacks everywhere do not find the word that offensive?

  45. BringBack,

    Are you at familiar with polling? They are certainly more than scientifically-based enough to gauge sentiment in any population. For instance, Gallup conducts polls of Egyptians to measure how they view the certain former and current regimes ruling that country.

    The poll I’m referring to was conducted by Annenberg, which is a professional polling outfit (like Gallup, Ipsos-Reuters, etc.). It’s also a Left-leaning organization, which would have every incentive to skew its results in favor of those who want to change the Redskins name.

    No one has raised any challenge to the polling methodology and/or results the poll yielded. The only rebuttal I’ve heard is that the poll is “old.” That’s completely absurd for reasons I’ve discussed before.

    In all, more than 90% of Native Americans don’t think the name ‘REDSKINS’ is offensive. If they don’t, why should anyone else think so?

    Basically, that poll = GAME OVER.

    Hail to the REDSKINS!

  46. Desmond–your posts show that you’re 100% in the bag for Team Snyder, so I’m really not going to waste any more time on you…continue to misrepresent what I post. If you believe for a second that Snyder is using a 9 year-old poll because it’s the best evidence possible (instead of the fact that it goes along with his “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps” position) then you are too naive to argue with. History will decide. (“segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” seemed catchy once, too) 🙂

  47. Oklahoma is a word that was made up by the native American missionary Allen Wright. He combined two Choctaw words, “ukla” meaning person and “humá” meaning red to form the word that first appears in a 1866 Choctaw treaty. Oklahoma means “red person.”

    Uh oh we need to change a states name because its offensive.

    With reference to Chiefs isn’t it disparaging because only one person can be a tribal Chief singular. So in KC they are saying everyone can be a Chief diminishing the role a Chief plays. Either make it singular out of respect or change the name.

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