Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder continues to stand behind the franchise's nickname while the debate over whether it's too offensive to stand rages on.
In a letter to the team's fans and season-ticket holders, Snyder once again defended the Redskins nickname and stated that it represents "a symbol of everything we stand for" as well as "strength, courage, pride and respect," according to Fredericksburg.com's Zac Boyer.
Snyder pointed to the franchise's tradition and pride as the main reasons why he believes the nickname is appropriate:
Our franchise has a great history, tradition and legacy representing our proud alumni and literally tens of millions of loyal fans worldwide. We have participated in some of the greatest games in NFL history, and have won five World Championships. We are proud of our team and the passion of our loyal fans. Our fans sing ‘Hail to the Redskins’ in celebration at every Redskins game. They speak proudly of ‘Redskins Nation’ in honor of a sports team they love.
So when I consider the Washington Redskins name, I think of what it stands for. I think of the Washington Redskins traditions and pride I want to share with my three children, just as my father shared with me—and just as you have shared with your family and friends.
Snyder also acknowledged those who find the nickname offensive, proclaiming that he will continue to hear them out and "learn":
I respect the opinions of those who disagree. I want them to know that I do hear them, and I will continue to listen and learn. But we cannot ignore our 81-year history, or the strong feelings of most of our fans as well as Native Americans throughout the country. After 81 years, the team name ‘Redskins’ continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come.
We are Redskins Nation...and we owe it to our fans and coaches and players, past and present, to preserve that heritage.
Snyder has clearly maintained his stance on keeping the nickname around. But the depth of his latest response suggests that he has given the issue much more thought over the past five months.
Will the Redskins' name ever change?
Back in May, Snyder told USA Today that the team would "never" change the nickname.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the Redskins nickname in a letter to Congress back in June, but changed his tune last month on 106.7 The Fan when asked about it and those who find it offensive. Goodell said that if even "one person is offended, we have to listen," per Chris Lingebach of CBS DC.
Last week, President Barack Obama even weighed in on the controversy, per the Associated Press (via ESPN), admitting that he doesn't know "whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things."
The president remained neutral on the issue but stated that fans being attached to a particular nickname isn't good enough reason to keep it.
In the end, Snyder has the final say on whether the Redskins undergo a name change as the team owner. And based on his unwavering support of the current name, it doesn't appear as if this issue is going away anytime soon.
Redskins players won't have time to worry about the discussion this fall. The team is off to a sluggish 1-3 start in 2013 and will be on the road to take on the rival Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. The Redskins defense ranks among the worst in the league this season, and second-year superstar quarterback Robert Griffin III has struggled to recover from knee surgery and rediscover his rookie form under center.
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