Goodell praises Snyder, says Redskins name support remains overwhelming

March 26, 2014
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said public opinion shows overwhelming support for the Redskins name. (Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said public opinion shows overwhelming support for the Redskins name. (Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press)

ORLANDO – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell praised the efforts of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who on Tuesday presented his new foundation to league officials and his fellow owners. Goodell described Snyder as “responsible” in his willingness to listen to concerns about the team’s controversial nickname, but also added that public polls show that overwhelming support remains for the name.

Snyder on Monday night announced in a four-page letter to fans that he had founded the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation – a non-profit that will aid Native American tribes across the country. On Tuesday, he and the organization’s CEO, Gary Edwards, spoke before the league and explained their vision.

Goodell and Snyder have listened to the complaints of individuals and groups that believe the owner should do away with the Redskins nickname. They also have heard from supporters of the name. During his research, which included travels to reservations, Snyder said that he learned the real issue involved helping poverty-stricken Indian people.

Goodell commended him.

“We have been listening, but so has Dan. That was the point of the presentation, that he has been listening,” Goodell said on Wednesday at the concluding press conference of the league meetings. “[Snyder] has visited 26 [reservations] and he has been working  very closely with them, listening and learning. And there are some important needs that he has identified by having these meetings. But that was a presentation completely by the Redskins. It was their issue, and the membership appreciated hearing it.”

The foundation and its efforts will not satisfy Snyder’s most staunch critics. And asked if it’s counterproductive for the controversy to continue, Goodell pointed to the fact that the critics remain in the minority.

“This is something to your point that has been discussed for decades now. It comes up every once in a while, but people have strong views of it,” Goodell said. “I think Dan is being very responsible in listening. It’s also very clear when you look at public opinion, when you look at the polls that 90 percent of Redskins fans support the name. They believe it’s something that represents pride. And the general population also supports it overwhelmingly. He’s trying to be responsible in listening and recognizing that people have differing views.”

Have a football question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesday.

Video of Jay Gruden at the meetings:

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden discusses the coming year at the NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL meetings. (Mike Jones/The Washington Post)

More from The Post:

Highlights from breakfast with Jay Gruden | Video

New foundation will help tribes, won’t quell  controversy

Wise: For Snyder, a step without direction

Redskins’ new foundation presented to NFL owners

D.C. Sports Bog: Riggins still coolest guy in the room | More

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Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Mike Jones · March 26, 2014