The Washington Redskin name controversy continues to evolve


The latest salvo in the ongoing feud between Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and the Graham Family – who formerly owned the Washington Post – is a commercial that aired during halftime of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, when the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation put together a PSA that talks about the virtues of being a Native American Indian, and how a football team with a name that disparages their community is wrong.

First of all, I previously wrote a blog post for Cover 32 that exposed the TRUTH behind this whole “controversy.” I encourage EVERYONE to read it and get all the facts behind this topic that seemingly has any and everyone giving their opinion.

Indeed, Native Americans – like any American – have a right to voice how they feel. Nonetheless, what I’d like to know is how a small and relatively unknown non-profit organization like the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has $1 million dollars to buy airtime for a two minute ad and get it played in primetime??! Also, why does the opinion of former Redskin CB and current New Orleans Saints CB Champ Bailey on the subject matter getting so much play in the media recently??

All roads lead back to the Graham family. Anyone who is familiar with the Redskins knows that Bailey wanted out of DC because the team was not doing well when he played for them, which was why he was traded to the Denver Broncos for RB Clinton Portis. So does the opinion of a “disgruntled ex-employee” more valid than anyone else’s? And why is this topic getting an excessive amount of coverage in the Washington Post?

The other Washington newspaper – The Washington Times – doesn’t give anywhere close to half of the coverage to this topic as the Post does. Furthermore, why are there so many different organizations and people seemingly “speaking out” on this? First there was the Oneida Indian Nation staging protests, then you had Senator Harry Reid along with a group of other Senators writing a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to support them in urging Snyder to change the name of the team, then the commercial by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and now Bailey’s recent comments. Obviously the Graham family has huge “war chest,” and they are more than willing to use every single “bullet” in order to bring Snyder to his knees.

In response, Redskins President Bruce Allen wrote a letter to Senator Reid, stating some very compelling facts about the “Redskins” name:

(1) A Native American scholar (Ives Goddard) is the person responsible for coming up with the name “Redskins” and the team logo was designed by Native Americans.

(2) The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania conducted a survey among Native American Indians, and a resounding 90% said the name was NOT OFFENSIVE OR RACIST

(3) The Associated Press conducted a separate survey, in which 83% of Americans were in favor of keeping the team name “Redskins”

So if two different surveys – both of which are recent – have those kind of number in favor of the use of the name “Redskins,” what validation do the likes of Senator Reid, the Oneida and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nations, and Chump… I mean Champ Bailey have in expressing their opinions publicly?? This clearly shows that whomever is the driving force in this campaign to change the name of the Redskins is neither concerned or interested in what the majority of people think on this matter, all they want is to make Snyder acquiesce and change the name of the team. This is why it makes perfect and logical sense to me that the Graham family is behind all this.

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