One day after the Cleveland Indians announced they would no longer use Chief Wahoo as a logo after this season, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he did not see the Washington Redskins' nickname changing.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has remained firm in his desire to keep the nickname, and Goodell said Tuesday on the Golic & Wingo show, "I don't see him changing that perspective."
Despite increasing pressure the past several years, Snyder hasn't budged, once telling USA Today that he'll never change the nickname and "you can use caps." Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred supported the Indians' decision and had reportedly been pushing the team over the past year to go in that direction. Goodell does not sound inclined to do the same.
"Dan Snyder has really worked in the Native American community to understand better their perspective, and I think it's reflected mostly in a Washington Post poll that came out in [May 2016] that said over nine out of 10 Native Americans do not take that in a negative fashion, the Redskins' logo or the Redskins' name, and they support it," Goodell told Golic & Wingo.
In 2016, The Washington Post polled 504 Native Americans and found that 10 percent deemed the name offensive. The results were similar to those from a poll 12 years earlier by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
After the Indians announced their decision Monday, the Change the Mascot campaign issued a statement by Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter wanting the Redskins to follow suit.
The statement said in part, "Cleveland's decision should finally compel the Washington football team to make the same honorable decision. For too long, people of color have been stereotyped with these kinds of hurtful symbols -- and no symbol is more hurtful than the football team in the nation's capital using a dictionary-defined racial slur as its team name. Washington Owner Dan Snyder needs to look at Cleveland's move and then look in the mirror and ask whether he wants to be forever known as the most famous purveyor of bigotry in modern sports, or if he wants to finally stand on the right side of history and change his team's name. We hope he chooses the latter."
Change the Mascot issued another statement on Tuesday, in response to Goodell's comments, which said, "Indian Country has spoken with a clear and unified voice that promoting and profiting off of the R-word slur, which denigrates our heritage and harms our people, is most definitely offensive and certainly not an 'honor' as the team and league claim. Ignoring the overwhelming feedback from those directly affected by the term and hiding behind discredited defenses is a poor attempt to deny the inevitable need for a long overdue name change."
The group called the Washington Post poll "highly questioned" and characterized Snyder's conversations with Native Americans as "limited."
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that a trademark law that bars disparaging terms infringed on free speech rights and was unconstitutional, providing a boost to the Redskins. Team president Bruce Allen also said in 2015 that the team wouldn't change the name even if doing so would help it secure a new stadium in the District of Columbia. The Redskins are also discussing sites in Maryland, where they currently play, and Virginia, where they train. Their lease at FedExField expires in 2027.