In advance of Tuesday’s one-hour “Outside the Lines Special Report: Washington’s Nickname – An NFL Dilemma,“ ESPN released the results of new player and fan polls about the Redskins name.
In a non-scientific survey conducted by ESPN reporters throughout the offseason, 286 players were asked, “Yes or No: Do the Redskins need to change their name?” ESPN reports that of the players surveyed, 58 percent (167) said the Redskins should not change their name and 42 percent (119) said the Redskins should change their name.
Of 51 Redskins players surveyed, 26 said they should keep the name, 24 declined to answer and one said the name should be changed. It’s unclear whether the 51 Redskins players’ responses are included in the results of the poll of 286 players referenced above, as those results do not seem to account for players who declined to answer.
“It helps keep them relevant,” one anonymous Redskins player, who didn’t answer yes or no, told ESPN. “There are so many issues on so many reservations that are not forgotten. … I’ve seen all the numbers, but to me it’s a small issue and we should be looking at other big social issues.”
A separate poll conducted by Langer Research for “Outside the Lines” reveals that 71 percent of Americans are in favor of the Redskins keeping their nickname. That number is down from 89 percent when the question was first asked in 1992. The poll of 1,019 people conducted between Aug. 20-24 also reveals that 68 percent of Americans believe the Redskins nickname is not disrespectful of Native Americans, while 9 percent consider the name “a lot” disrespectful. Fifty-four percent of respondents to the Langer Research poll think the name is unlikely to be changed.
Tuesday’s “Outside the Lines” special report (ESPN2, 8 p.m.) will feature an interview with Daniel Snyder, a look at the financial implications of a Redskins name change and discussion of the recent player and fan polls.