Dan Rather: Redskins name should not change

(Suzanne Plunkett / AP)
(Suzanne Plunkett / AP)

Editor’s note: Everyone was born with a mission in life. Mine is evidently to record the opinion of every living human about the name of an NFL franchise. If this doesn’t interest you, just leave this tab open but stare at the wall for about three minutes, and then close the tab. Luckily, there are only about 17 people left to survey. Next up will be James W. Sylvester, 59, of Sheboygan. Expect that tomorrow.

Add legendary newsman Dan Rather and veteran ESPN anchor John Saunders to the list of people who have chimed in on the Redskins name issue this year.

Rather was asked if the team should change its name on DC50′s ‘NewsPlus with Mark Segraves,’ which aired Sunday morning.

“No. Straight answer,” Rather said. “It’s not my call. I understand the impetus for changing the name. But you asked the question. If it were my call, no. I do expect somewhere along the line it will be changed, because I think those making the argument that it’s the decent and right thing to do over a period of time will probably prevail.”

Saunders, meanwhile, weighed in on the issue during his final comments on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters”.

“This week, NFL vice president Adolpho Birch continued the league’s defense of the Washington Redskins name, saying despite what it says in the dictionary, it is not a slur. He added ‘it’s a variety of perspectives, one that doesn’t require a yes or no answer.’ For owner Dan Snyder, the answer is no. He still contends the name honors Native Americans. Commissioner Roger Goodell says the same, despite the fact that 50 U.S. Senators signed a letter to Goodell telling him to change the name.

“The National Congress of American Indians have now asked NFL players to get involved. The question is, what is Snyder fighting about? A word? It offends a large number of people who helped build this country while facing genocide. I don’t really care about your 80 years of football tradition. Is it really worth digging your feet in and standing toe-to-toe like you’re defending your home and family? And by the way, ask the children what they think. It’s a name, that’s offensive. That’s not going to change, so the name should.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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