Snyder Still Not Budging on Team's Name

Published on 6-Aug-2014 by Stacey Mickles

Football - NFL    NFL Daily Update

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Snyder Still Not Budging on Team's Name

If you thought that Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was even thinking about changing the team's name, think again.

And if you thought that -- in his perception -- this controversy was about whether or not the team name is disrespectful to a particular ethnic group, really think again.

It's not about tradition, or human dignity, or even Onion-like humor. No, it's about the money.

Snyder recently gave a lame interview, still trying to justify keeping the Redskins name.

First of all, let's get the history straight. The team name Redskins originated because of money. It wasn't about honoring anyone. It was simply about money.

  • Back in the day, before gambling and instant replay turned the NFL into a cash-churning juggernaut, its teams took nicknames of the MLB teams whose stadiums they rented to play their games.
  • The original NFL franchise was the Boston Braves, because before that MLB team moved to Milwaukee and then to Atlanta, it played at Braves Field and its fans knew to go there to watch the games.
  • Ultimately, the NFL team moved its games to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.
  • Keeping the Braves name and playing in the home of the Red Sox would have been confusing.
  • So given the era and the city -- Boston has never been known for tolerance -- changing the name to Redskins was the team's solution to subtly letting its fans know where to go to watch its games.
  • When the team moved to Washington DC -- and the move was about money -- so did the name.

So, of course Snyder says the name isn't offensive, although by history in general and definition in particular, we know it is. Or, perhaps, was.

ESPN's Stephen A Smith took another viewpoint. He believes the reason why Snyder won't willingly change the name is because there's not enough pressure being put on him by Native Americans.

I agree. If this impacted a larger minority population like African-Americans, Snyder wouldn't have a choice. But to Smith's point, since most Native American leaders haven't spoken out against it, the name won't change anytime soon.

The discussion in that video was a reaction to an anti-Redskin-mascot campaign launched in 2013 by the Oneida Nation in New York. But how they refer to themselves is a gray area. Underscoring Smith's point, the Sioux Nation was deeply divided about the University of North Dakota's use of its name as a mascot. Little Wellpinit High School is located on the Spokane Reservation, and its school board voted to keep the Redskins name.

So philosophically, it doesn't seem like there will ever be a consensus on the issue from within the Native Americans themselves.

Look,  we all know Daniel Snyder is jerk. He's a rich snob who doesn't give a rip about any of this as long as he is making money. As long as fans come to the game and players keep their mouths shut, he is not going to do a damn thing.

Most of the time, as history has shown us, change doesn't come unless it is forced, and until someone or some group is powerful enough to force Snyder's hand, the Redskins will remain the Redskins.