Sportress of Blogitude

Redskins ‘gratified’ by poll indicating Native American support for team name


Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins issued a statement in which the organization expressed gratitude over the results of a recent poll that showed “overwhelming support” from Native Americans for the team’s controversial name.

The results of the poll, conducted by The Washington Post, reveals that nine in 10 Native Americans don’t find the Redskins name offensive.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder provided the following statement to Pro Football Talk:

“The Washington Redskins team, our fans and community have always believed our name represents honor, respect, and pride. Today’s Washington Post polling shows Native Americans agree. We are gratified by this overwhelming support from the Native American community and the team will proudly carry the Redskins name.”

The poll surveyed the opinions of 504 Native American adults in every state and Washington D.C. The results mirror a 2004 poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, something that demonstrates views remain largely unchanged regarding the name.

The poll involved surveys taken over a five-month period. Seven in 10 of the respondents indicated the word “Redskin” wasn’t disrespectful to Native Americans. Eight in 10 responded that they would not take offense if a non-native called them by that name.

Despite the outcome of the poll, critics of the name and the NFL’s policy regarding it questioned what the results truly mean.

“Native Americans are resilient and have not allowed the NFL’s decades-long denigration of us to define our own self-image,” Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata in a joint statement. “However, that proud resilience does not give the NFL a license to continue marketing, promoting, and profiting off of a dictionary-defined racial slur — one that tells people outside of our community to view us as mascots.”

While Snyder and the team may feel vindicated by the results of the poll, it won’t end the debate over the hot-button issue, nor will it silence vocal critics of the divisive, multifaceted and controversial issue.