WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has changed his tenor slightly since telling ten members of Congress in June the ‘Redskins’ nickname is a “unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”
In an interview with Lavar Arrington and Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday, Goodell emphasized the importance of both honoring tradition, as well as listening to fans of differing points of view, with regards to the largely debated team name.
“Well as you guys know, I grew up in Washington, so the Colts were my team early on and then I became a Redskins fan,” Goodell told Lavar and Dukes. “I know the team name is part of their history and tradition, and that’s something that’s important to the Redskins fans.”
“I think what we have to do though is we have to listen,” Goodell said. “If one person is offended, we have to listen.”
Goodell was asked specifically if the decision to either change or keep the ‘Redskins’ nickname will remain in the hands of team owner Daniel Snyder, who told The USA Today in June “We’ll never change the name. It’s simple. NEVER.”
“Ultimately it is Dan’s decision,” Goodell specified. “But it’s something that I want all of us to go out and make sure we’re listening to our fans, listening to people of a different view, and making sure that we continue to do what’s right to make sure that team represents the strong tradition and history that it has for so many years.”
Goodell would go on to reiterate that the league needs to ensure it’s representing the franchise in a positive way, and “if we are offending one person, we need to be listening and making sure that we’re doing the right things to try to address that.”
Opposition to the name appears to be growing, as an amalgam of journalists – both as individuals and entire websites – have voiced disapproval by refusing to publish it online, including Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.
The Oneida Indian Nation recently launched a national radio campaign denouncing the name Redskins, likening its use to Eagles’ receiver Riley Cooper being captured on video saying the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert. The ad is scheduled to run on radio stations in every city the Redskins play during the 2013 season.
Redskins’ general manager Bruce Allen called it “ludicrous” to suggest the franchise is trying to upset Native Americans with the name.
And in May, an Associated Press-GfK poll found widespread national support for the nickname.
Listen below. Download the segment here.