For some time now, Dan Snyder and his team have been on the defensive regarding the continued use of their “offensive” name. Mr. Snyder has passionately defended his decision, citing the name’s origins and history with the team and even insisting that the word Redskins pays the highest tribute to the very people who are protesting its use. His coaching staff has basically avoided the topic, while his players have offered weak and mixed opinions and only when directly confronted about it.
This strategy hasn’t worked- which mirrors the Redskins defensive line’s performance on the field going back through a number of losing seasons. Apparently Mr. Snyder didn’t learn anything from that experience and his trademark quick dismissals of opposing viewpoints and unilateral decision making have only led to even louder and more persistent calls for changing the name.
In late May half of the U.S. Senate sent letters to Commissioner Roger Goodell, requesting that he take action to get the name of the Washington Redskins changed. The senators charged that it is a “racial slur” against Native Americans and therefore has no place in the NFL or anywhere else in this country. In response to this action, Redskins President Bruce Allen sent a letter to Senator Harry Reid defending its continued use and labelled it “respectful” towards Native Americans. Several Redskins’ players subsequently tweeted their approval of Allen’s message- and within days a new offensive strategy #RedskinsPride was launched.
This social media blitz started when the team decided to email fans and ask them to also contact Reid and tell him how proud they are of the name and the team that bears it. Fans seemed evenly divided on the issue at first- but as word spread many non-fans and other onlookers weighed in and this quickly led to a barrage of tweets that made fun of the Redskins’ performance on the field and their insistence on keeping a name that is so divisive and unacceptable.
Mr. Snyder it is time to call a new play. Try stepping back and actually listening to those around you with an open mind, heart and wallet. If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting the same results and the Redskins will continue to be the losers on and off the field.