The controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ name appears to have intensified in recent days, but several people familiar with the league’s inner workings said late Monday and early Tuesday they sense no immediate change in stance by either the NFL or the Redskins on the issue.
One person familiar with the league’s position on the matter said Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has remained adamant that he has no plans to change the team’s name. That person said he continues to see little or no sentiment among other owners or top league officials to take forceful measures in the foreseeable future to try to convince Snyder to make a change.
The likelihood of a change would increase, the person said, if the Redskins and the NFL were to feel economic pressure to take action and, at least for now, that isn’t the case, according to that person. The current feeling is that the Redskins would be likely to suffer economic harm if they make a name change, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.
Another person familiar with the league’s view on the matter also expressed the view that nothing had changed at this point and added that there is no current movement by the Redskins or the NFL toward a name change. That person added, however, that some within the league do wish the Redskins would be more receptive toward listening to opposing views on the matter and considering the concerns of those who express such opposing views.
League officials do appear intent upon listening to opposing views and giving opponents of the Redskins” name a chance to voice their concerns directly to the NFL.
President Obama said in an interview with the Associated Press late last week that he would consider a name change if he owned the franchise.
NFL officials have scheduled a meeting for next month with a Native American group that opposes the Redskins’ name. That meeting with the Oneida Indian Nation is scheduled for Nov. 22 in New York, but could take place sooner. Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s senior vice president of labor policy and government affairs, wrote Friday to Peter Carmen, the COO of Oneida Nation Homelands. Birch wrote that league officials would be unable to attend Monday’s event in Washington at which the group voiced its objections to the Redskins’ name but suggested a meeting sooner than Nov. 22, either in New York or in Verona, N.Y., where the Oneida Nation is based.
The NFL expressed a willingness to engage in constructive and meaningful dialogue with the Oneida Nation.
Snyder and Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen were in attendance Tuesday as the owners held a one-day meeting in Washington. The owners are not expected to discuss the Redskins’ name issue, according to several people familiar with the deliberations. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to address reporters later Tuesday.
Snyder has said he never will change the team’s name. Some observers call the name offensive to Native Americans. The Redskins say they don’t mean to disparage or offend anyone.
Update, 11:56 a.m.
A man handing out papers protesting the Redskins’ name was escorted away from the area immediately outside the owners’ meeting room Tuesday by security personnel. The man angrily threw the papers into the air before leaving, and they fell into an area where reporters were standing.
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