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President Obama Suggests Name Change For Washington Redskins – Team Lawyer Fires Back

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OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Washington Redskins helmets lay on the ground during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on September 29, 2013 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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By Danny Cox

In 1933, the Boston Braves changed their team nickname to the “Redskins,” and in 1937, the team moved to Washington D.C. Since then, the team has operated as the sole NFL franchise and has done well, done poorly, and everything else in between.

Now, the team name of Redskins is being looked at as derogatory and offensive to a large number of people. Now, many are calling for the name to be changed and are trying to force the NFL’s hand to do just that. League commissioner has said before that it would be the decision of owner Dan Snyder, but he is keeping an eye on how and how many people are offended by it.

Snyder has vowed never to change the name of the team.

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Washington Redskins helmets lay on the ground during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on September 29, 2013 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Credit, Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama spoke up just this past weekend and voiced his opinions on the team’s name. As a sports fan, he knows that fans are attached to history and nostalgia, but says this goes further than that.

“If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizeable group of people, I’d think about changing it,” Obama said in an interview with the Associated Press published Saturday.

Once word of the president’s statement came about, the Washington Redskins decided to issue a response. It wasn’t a response that came from Snyder or a public relations person, but from a lawyer named Lanny Davis.

“As a supporter of President Obama, I am sure the President is not aware that in the highly respected independent Annenberg Institute poll (taken in 2004) with a national sample of Native Americans, 9 out of 10 Native Americans said they were not bothered by the name the ‘Washington Redskins,'” Davis says in the first sentence of the statement.

“The President made these comments to the Associated Press, but he was apparently unaware that an April 2013 AP poll showed that 8 out of 10 of all Americans in a national sample don’t think the Washington Redskins’ name should be changed,” Davis says in the second sentence of his statement.

There is much more to Davis’ statement and it goes into detail about how other teams are named the Chiefs, Indians, Blackhawks, and Braves.

Obama wasn’t ordering Snyder to change the team’s nickname. He put his opinions out there as many others have. Quarterback Robert Griffin III and other Redskins players have made it clear they aren’t “the authority to speak on that issue… I’m not a Native American, so I don’t know.”

Others, such as Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy, did not hold back.

“I don’t know if there is any way you can change Redskins,” said Murphy.” “The owner, Dan Snyder, has come out very strong that he will never change the name. But I am sensitive. It’s a name that’s very derogatory to a lot of people.”

Members of Congress have gone as far as to send a letter directly to Snyder that urged him to change the team name. The letter compared the “R-word” as being on the same level as the “N-word” for African Americans or the “W-word” for Latinos.

Similar letters went out to Goodell, the CEO of FedEx who sponsors the Redskins, and the owners of the other 31 NFL teams. Goodell did respond stating his support of the team nickname and again putting the change in the hands of Snyder.

Snyder once again said that “we’ll never change the name. It’s that simple.”

There are plenty of opinions for either side of the argument, and there always will be. Countless people will continue to be upset if the Redskins name remains. Countless people will be upset if the team changes the name to something else. It is hard to say if there could ever really be winners in this situation, but no matter what, there are always going to be those that lose.

Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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