As the controversy over the Redskins' name continues to heat up, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to the Co-Chairs of the Native American Caucus defending the name and saying that it was never "meant to denigrate Native Americans or offend any group."
"The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context,” he wrote. “For the team’s millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America's most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”
In a letter last month, 10 members of Congress urged Redskins owner Dan Snyder and Goodell to consider changing the name. The request was immediately shot down by Snyder who said he would "NEVER. You can put that in capital letters."
Goodell, who has been dodging similar questions about the name since the Super Bowl, was much more polite in his letter, but doesn't seem to be budging on the issue. He cites opinion polls that he claims shows people favor the name and calls the issue "complex."
"The National Football League takes seriously its responsibility to exemplify the values of diversity and inclusion that make our nation great," he added. "To that end, please be assured that we are committed to working with the team, this Caucus and others to continue to reinforce the many positive attributes represented by the team’s name and marks."
You can read the whole letter here.