News Column

Snyder Defends Use of Redskins Name

August 6, 2014

By Erik Brady, @ByErikBrady, USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder says the team's name means honor and respect. (Creative Commons)

The name of his NFL club means honor and respect and can be viewed otherwise only when taken out of context, Daniel Snyder told ESPN on Tuesday.

"A Redskin is a football player," the Washington Redskins owner said. "A Redskin is our fans. The Washington Redskin fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride, hopefully winning. And it's a positive."

John Barr conducted the interview for an Outside the Lines special on the team name controversy set to run Sept. 2, ahead of the NFL openers. ESPN ran outtakes from the interview Tuesday. Snyder, who rarely speaks on the issue, made some of the same points in a Monday interview on the team's flagship radio station that he owns.

Barr asked Snyder if he is concerned that his legacy will be tied to the name issue.

"Not really concerned at all," Snyder said. "I think what we're focused on right now, obviously, is just trying to win some football games and get our team going in the right direction, and we're just looking forward to the season. So we're not really worried about legacies. We're worried about beating the Dallas Cowboys."

Barr asked Snyder what he wants people to know to understand his position.

"It's what the name actually means," Snyder said. "I'd like them to understand, as I think most do, that the name really means honor and respect. We sing Hail to the Redskins. We don't say hurt anybody."

The team fight song now says: "Beat 'em, swamp 'em, touchdown! Let the points soar." The original lyrics included: "Scalp 'em, swamp 'em, We will take 'em big score."

Snyder said he has heard no criticism from other NFL owners. "It's been great support," he said. "I think that whether it's the owners or the people at the league, most people understand what the team name means. They look at it as we all do, as honor and respect."

Barr said Snyder told him that he is mindful of and sensitive to criticism that his Original Americans Foundation to help Native communities is a public relations stunt.

Barr said Snyder told him that he believes such criticism will go away over time.

It has not gone away yet. Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector, a leadership organization representing non-profits, criticized the foundation in a statement Tuesday on the website of Nonprofit Quarterly.

"Creating a new foundation using the language found in the Washington NFL team's name is offensive not only to Native communities, but to all people of goodwill who believe it is important to treat others with respect and dignity," Aviv said.

"Helping others through philanthropy is welcome. It is equally important to treat those we serve as they would like to be treated and call them as they wish to be called."

Original headline: Snyder defends use of team name

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