Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder released a letter to season ticket holders Wednesday to address the most recent protests against a team name many deem offensive. The letter, which was also published by the Washington Post, delves deep into the history of the franchise, as well as Snyder's personal connection with the franchise as a young boy who grew up going to Redskins games with his father.
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.
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.
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.
The letter also cites many of the same statistics that the organization has cited before -- namely, an Annenberg poll that found that 90 percent of self-identified Native Americans did not find "Redskins" offensive and an Associated Press poll that found that nearly 80 percent of those polled do not believe the name should be changed.
The poll numbers haven't stemmed the seemingly growing outcry to have the name changed, however. The Redskins have had to deal with protesters before games, and public critics including President Barack Obama. Still, Snyder has vowed to "NEVER" change the Redskins' name (all-caps courtesy Snyder), even to the chagrin of Redskins lawyer Lanny Davis.