Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder sent a letter to season-ticket holders defending the team’s name, offering a softer tone than he has in the past regarding the controversy. While he said he respects and has carefully listened to calls for a name change, Snyder said “we owe it to our fans and coaches and players, past and present, to preserve [the team's] heritage.”
Snyder detailed the team’s history and its relationship with American Indians since its inception, mentioning that the head coach and four players of its inaugural season as the “Redskins” in 1933 were American Indians. The letter references polls showing support from the name, including one exclusively of American Indians, as well as comments from American Indian leaders who support the name.
“Washington Redskins is more than a name we have called our football team for over eight decades,” Snyder wrote. “It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect — the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans.”
Earlier in the year, Snyder offered a much more aggressive affront to changing the name when he told USA Today that he will never change the name. “Never — you can use caps,” he said.