The Washington Redskins will remain the Washington Redskins as long as Dan Snyder owns the team. Despite recent calls for a change, Snyder insists that the franchise will retain its controversial name.
"We will never change the name of the team. As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season," Snyder told Erik Brady of USA Today Sports this week.
In a letter to Snyder earlier this month that was obtained by the Washingtonian, at-large DC City Council member David Grosso called the team's name "historically racist and derogatory." The franchise moniker has also come under recent scrutiny from, among other sources, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, the Washington City Paper and the Native American community.
When asked by Brady if he would reconsider if the team loses a federal trademark lawsuit, Snyder repeated himself. "We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."
Snyder has been asked about a potential name change before. His answer has been the same.
"I'll never change the name of the Redskins," Snyder told CNN’s Bob Novak in an interview in 2003. "You have my word on that. In addition to that, it's really what the Redskins mean that's not quite out there. If you look at the facts, the facts are what it means is tradition. It means winning. It means a great tradition for the franchise."
Snyder hasn't been the only official in the Redskins' front office to be asked about the name. In February, Redskins general manager Bruce Allen defended the name, telling the Associated Press that it's "ludicrous" to think the team is trying to upset Native Americans.
"There's nothing that we feel is offensive," Allen said. "And we're proud of our history."
Despite the public debate over the name, an Associated Press-GfK poll conducted in April showed that 79 percent of Americans are in favor of the team keeping the name.