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What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

If It’s The Most Offensive Name In Professional Sports, Quite A Bit

A team that is not playing in this weekend’s Super Bowl has increasingly found itself in the news for something unrelated to football. Over the last year, the Washington Redskins ownership has come under intensifying pressure from high-profile individuals, including its own players and the President of the United States, who say that it should change the team’s name.

Today, our colleague Travis Waldron at ThinkProgress Sports has published an exhaustive history of the controversy, and uncovered a new twist in emails he exclusively obtained: Dan Snyder, the unpopular owner of the Redskins who vowed that he will “never change the name,” is getting advice from several high-profile Republican advisers on how to defend against the growing public outrage with a team name that is a racial slur. These advisers include Frank Luntz, the GOP pollster; Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary under George W. Bush; and George Allen, the former governor of Virginia.

In addition to revealing the names of this all-star team of Republican communicators, the emails indicate the group’s dismissive attitude toward any concern over the issue. Bruce Allen, George Allen’s brother and the team’s general manager, called Waldron’s questions “ignorant” and “insulting,” and Fleischer responded, “not [sic] need to answer any more questions or waste any more time with this outfit.”

It remains to be seen how this latest chapter in the growing controversy will affect the Redskins team. But to get up to speed, check out this timeline going back to last February and then head over to Waldron’s longread:


BONUS: The National Congress of American Indians is using the venue of the Super Bowl to air a moving Public Service Announcement to raise awareness and gain support for the campaign to change the name of the Washington Redskins.