Daniel Snyder of the Redskins snubbed the team’s name change, now the demands are there

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Daniel Snyder bought the Washington Redskins in 1999, but he has never been under as much pressure to change the name of the team as he is now, when symbols and statues from the country’s past have been demolished or deleted in the middle of a closer look at what these things really mean.

The Redskins’ name has been controversial for about a month now, as politicians, the media, and now corporate sponsors have all asked Snyder to dispense with the name that has been part of the organization since 1933, when the team was originally named Boston Redskins.

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Snyder has given way in the past.

Dan Snyder talked about changing the name in 2013 and 2014. (AP Photo / Adrian Kraus, File)

In 2014, Snyder told ESPN that he was not going to succumb to the pressure to change the name because he thought the term “Redskins” was not disparaging for Native Americans but was rather a term that honored them with honor and respect. He also highlighted two Native Americans – William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz, whose team was named after to honor his legacy, and Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, a former Native American chief who helped design and approve the team logo.

“These are just historical truths, and I would like them to understand, as I think most do, that the name really means honor, respect,” he told ESPN at the time. “We sing“ Hail to the Redskins ”. We don’t say to hurt anyone. We say “Hi Redskins. Brave on the way to war. Fight for old D.C. ‘We only sing it when we score touchdowns. ”

When asked what a “Redskin” was, Snyder replied, “A Redskin is a football player. A Redskin is our fans. The Washington Redskins fan base represents honor, respect, pride. I hope to win. And, and, that’s a positive. Taken out of context, you can take things out of context anywhere. But in this particular case, that’s what it is. It’s very obvious. ”

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That same year, 50 senators agreed that the Redskins should change their name. A letter to Roger Goodell asked the NFL commissioner to pressure the organization to rename the team, citing pressure from the NBA to remove Donald Sterling as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers when he was heard spouting racist remarks in a recording.

“We urge you and the National Football League to send the same clear message as the NBA: racism and fanaticism have no place in professional sports,” wrote the senators at the time.

Snyder told USA Today in 2013 that the team “would never change the name of the team.”

The recent national conversation on racism has renewed calls for the Washington Redskins to change their names. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser called the name an “obstacle” to building his stadium and headquarters in the district, but owner Dan Snyder has shown no indication over the years that he would consider it . (AP photo / Alex Brandon, file)

“As a Redskins fan forever, and I think Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it is and what it means, so we feel fortunate enough to only work next season,” he told the newspaper.

He added, “We will never change the name. It’s so simple. NEVER – you can use caps. ”

Certainly, the social climate was different six and seven years ago. Things seemed to start to change in early 2020. Recent opinion polls seem to favor the name of the Redskins, and a study by the University of California at Berkeley published in February said that at least half of the Amerindians polled were offended by the term. The study editors were adamant about their results, according to WUSA9.

Previous Washington Post polls, among others, had shown that Americans were not offended by the name.

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The change of public opinion seems linked to the May 25 death of George Floyd, the man from Minneapolis who died after an officer knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes in an instant taken on video on cellphone.

The Redskins team posted a black square on their Twitter page to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Was among those who called on the team to change the name of the team if they truly supported the call for social justice.

Two weeks later, the editorial board of the Washington Post called on the team to change their name, despite their own 2016 poll showing the Americans were not offended by the name.

“It should be an easy call. Mr. Snyder – or, if Mr. Snyder refuses to back down on his statement of “NEVER”, the NFL – should take advantage of this singular moment in history to get on the right side of history, “the newspaper said. . “Change the name. NOW. ”

Even though calls have increased, the Redskins’ wallet has never really been threatened – until this week.

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The team plans to move to a new stadium in the near future, but their relocation from Maryland to the RFK stadium in D.C. now depends on the organization’s willingness to change its name, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

FedEx publicly called on Thursday for the Redskins to change their names. To make things more interesting, FedEx CEO Fred Smith is also the minority owner of the organization.

Nike also appeared to be removing Redskins equipment from its website. The goods disappeared a day after a group of 87 investment companies sent letters to three of the Redskins’ main sponsors. Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo have been urged to pressure Washington team officials to change the name and end their commercial relationship with the franchise if the property is found to be illegal.

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Washington has not commented on recent developments but one thing is certain: calls for the team to change their names have never been stronger than they are today.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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