Amid pressure from the Oneida Indian Nation, certain media organizations and even President Obama, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is holding firm in his conviction that his team should keep its controversial name.
Redskins season ticket holders received a letter from Snyder this week, a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Post, in which he passionately defended the name. He discusses his own upbringing, and how much tradition the name has for Redskins fans. He cites two surveys, including one of self-identified Native Americans. The poll, administered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, found that 90 percent of respondents did not find the name "Washington Redskins" to be offensive.
In the second survey, administered by the Associated Press, 79% of the respondents stated the Washington Redskins should not change their name.
Snyder's letter comes four days after President Obama told the Associated Press that if he owned the team, he would think about changing the name.
Snyder, who purchased the Redskins in 1999, told USA Today in May that the team would never change its name. While a lawyer for the team said he wishes Snyder hadn't used such strong language, in his letter Snyder makes no indication that he is considering changing his mind.
Below is an excerpt from the letter:
"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."