To Everyone in our Washington Redskins Nation:
It used to be a whole nation of redskins, but let’s not let history get in the way.
As loyal fans, you deserve to know that everyone in the Washington Redskins organization – our players, coaches and staff – are truly privileged to represent this team and everything it stands for.
Bad parking, a muddy field and my arrogance. Oh yeah, and something about a racist logo and nickname.
We are relentlessly committed to our fans and to the sustained long-term success of this franchise.
You saw the part about the muddy field, right? And your quarterback’s knee?
That’s why I want to reach out to you – our fans – about a topic I wish to address directly: the team name, “Washington Redskins.” While our focus is firmly on the playing field, it is important that you hear straight from me on this issue. As the owner of the Redskins and a lifelong fan of the team, here is what I believe … and why I believe it.
Belief. Not logic or common sense. Belief.
Like so many of you, I was born a fan of the Washington Redskins. I still remember my first Redskins game. Most people do. I was only six, but I remember coming through the tunnel into the stands at RFK with my father, and immediately being struck by the enormity of the stadium and the passion of the fans all around me.
Indoctrination is a weird thing. Like, I would like Beck more if he wasn’t a crazy Scientologist, but since he was born and raised in that particular cult, I don’t hold out much hope he’ll ever leave it. I imagine it’s the same if your fortunes were tied to the team you grew up worshiping. He’s never going to see another point of view on this issue, blinded by nostalgia.
I remember how quiet it got when the Redskins had the ball, and then how deafening it was when we scored. The ground beneath me seemed to move and shake, and I reached up to grab my father’s hand. The smile on his face as he sang that song … he’s been gone for 10 years now, but that smile, and his pride, are still with me every day.
Snyder’s father passed away years after he bought the franchise, so I’m not quite sure if he’s still trying to earn his father’s approval by owning their favorite football team or if memories of his dead father are the reason why he’s keeping the terribly racist name. Some people want to keep everything exactly the same after they lose a loved one because they worry if things change they’ll lose another part of that person. So one man, with the wealth and power to own a football team, can hold his grief over those being marginalized even further with a racial slur.
That tradition – the song, the cheer – it mattered so much to me as a child, and I know it matters to every other Redskins fan in the D.C. area and across the nation.
Next time I meet a Washington fan, I’m going to demand they sing me the team’s fight song so they can prove to me they’re a real fan.
Our past isn’t just where we came from—it’s who we are.
As some of you may know, our team began 81 years ago – in 1932 – with the name “Boston Braves.” The following year, the franchise name was changed to the “Boston Redskins.”
See? This is totally not Washington’s fault. This mess was caused up in Boston, they’re the real racists.
On that inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were Native Americans. The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.
Right. “Red people but no black people” was the team’s motto until the government threatened to take away your stadium in 1962. Some history you’re proud of there, Snyder.
Also, if saying “redskins” isn’t so racist in your mind, why doesn’t this sentence read, “On the inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were redskins.”
In 1971, our legendary coach, the late George Allen, consulted with the Red Cloud Athletic Fund located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and designed our emblem on the Redskins helmets. Several years later, Coach Allen was honored by the Red Cloud Athletic Fund. On the wall at our Ashburn, Virginia, offices is the plaque given to Coach Allen – a source of pride for all of us. “Washington Redskins” is more than a name we have called our football team for over eight decades. It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect – the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans.
Corrected: It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect – the same values we know guide redskins and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans.
I’ve listened carefully to the commentary and perspectives on all sides, and I respect the feelings of those who are offended by the team name. But I hope such individuals also try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans too.
Because fans in Arlington with enough disposable income to spend on football have the same quality of life as Native Americans living in trailers on reservations. Totally the same thing.
Consider the following facts concerning the “Washington Redskins” name:
1) The highly respected Annenberg Public Policy Center polled nearly 1,000 self-identified Native Americans from across the continental U.S. and found that 90% of Native Americans did not find the team name “Washington Redskins” to be “offensive.”
Self-identified. Not polled on tribal lands, self-identified.
2) In an April 2013 Associated Press survey, 79% of the respondents stated the Washington Redskins should not change their name, while only 11% believed the team’s name should change.
Survey of whom? Redskin fans? Giants fans so they won’t be considered the most embarrassing team in the division?
Paul Woody, a columnist for the Richmond Times Dispatch, interviewed three leaders of Virginia Native American tribes this May. They were all quoted by Mr. Woody as stating that the team name doesn’t offend them – and their comments strongly supported the name “Washington Redskins.” Also in May, SiriusXM NFL Radio hosted Robert Green, the longtime and recently retired Chief of the Fredericksburg-area Patawomeck Tribe, who said, among other things:
“Frankly, the members of my tribe – the vast majority – don’t find it offensive. I’ve been a Redskins fan for years. And to be honest with you, I would be offended if they did change [the name, Redskins….This is] an attempt by somebody…to completely remove the Indian identity from anything and pretty soon… you have a wipeout in society of any reference to Indian people….You can’t rewrite history – yes there were some awful bad things done to our people over time, but naming the Washington football team the Redskins, we don’t consider to be one of those bad things.”
Welp, we have one side of the story in one quote. Case closed!
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.
See all those wins? All those fans? Snyder owns the third most valuable brand in the NFL, the most valuable sports brand in the United States. You don’t mess with the brand. Ask New Coke about that.
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.
“So we’re keeping the racist name so my kids can better know their dead grandpa. Being rich is the best. If you have the means, I highly recommend you own your football team someday.”
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.
81 year history? Well, that should mollify Native Americans whose ancestors were here for thousands of years before the Vikings first made it over in their little boats.
After 81 years, the team name “Redskins” continues to hold the memories and meaning of
where we came from,
who we are,
A corporate brand owned by a billionaire.
and who we want to be in the years to come.
Still flithy rich AND getting our way.
We are Redskins Nation … and we owe it to our fans and coaches and players, past and present, to preserve that heritage.
81 years is a strong heritage. I mean, the team didn’t even exist when my grandparents were children, so best we preserve that legacy before it’s lost for the ages.
With Respect and Appreciation,
Keep buying tickets suckers,
Human Eye Booger
PS. Wherever I go, I see Redskins bumper stickers, Redskins decals, Redskins t-shirts, Redskins … everything. I know how much this team means to you, and it means everything to me as well. Always has. I salute your passion and your pride for the Burgundy & Gold.
PS. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I’M GOING TO DIVE INTO MY POOL FULL OF KRUGERRANDS!