In recent days and weeks, pressure has been mounting on Washington NFL team owner Dan Snyder to rid the team of its current name—a racist, derogatory term.
The University of Minnesota is trying to prevent the Washington R**skins’ name from being used in “promotional and game date materials” during an upcoming game at the university’s stadium, according to The Washington Post in an August 7 article. The school is working with the Minnesota Vikings on this effort. The Washington Post cited a letter from university president Eric Kaler to U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn).
Kaler was responding to a letter he was copied on, sent from McCollum to Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, that urged Wilf to condemn the Washington team’s name. The original letter from McCollum argued that Wilf needed to take a stand against “that hateful slur” because all NFL teams split the sales of their licensed merchandise equally, the Washington Post reported.
“The time for debate has ended – the name of the Washington franchise is clearly an offensive racial slur,” McCollum wrote to Wilf. “I urge you, as an NFL team owner, to not remain silent on this matter any longer.”
It is unclear how the Vikings are involved in the effort to condemn and ban the Washington team’s name, according to the Post. A Vikings’ spokesperson said the team is still deciding how it will handle the university’s request. Vikings and school officials have met once on the issue, but plan on further talks between now and November, according to the Washington Post.
On Aug. 5, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley posted a message on his Facebook page about the Washington NFL team’s name.
“I was asked earlier today and answered that I do believe it is probably time for the Washington Redskins to change their team name, “O’Malley said. The team’s home field is in Landover, Maryland.
He also tweeted about the name on his twitter account. “We hope that in every generation we become more understanding of one another & more respectful of the dignity of every individual & culture,” he said.
CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus was asked by The Hollywood Reporter in an interview for their annual sports issue how CBS Sports analysts will “address [the Redskins nickname] controversy this fall,” according to a July 17 cbssports.com article.
“We haven’t talked to them yet,” McManus said. “Generally speaking, we do not tell our announcers what to say or not say. Up to this point, it has not been a big issue for us. Last year, it was simmering; now it’s reaching a hotter level. But we probably will not end up dictating to our announcers whether they say Redskins or don’t say Redskins. We leave that up to them and our production team.”
CBS will broadcast five Washington NFL games this season, which is more than usual due to the new Thursday Night Football package.
In July, Jordan Wright, the granddaughter of original Washington R**skins team owner George Preston Marshall, told Leesburg Today the time has come to change the name. Marshall moved the team to Washington in 1937 and gave it the derogatory name.
“They need to change the name,” she told former Washington Post reporter Leonard Shapiro, who had covered the team. “In this day and age, it’s just not right.”
Wright commented further on the issue in a subsequent article in the July 23 issue of The Washington Post. “It’s about respect,” she said. “If even one person tells you that name, that word you used, offends them, then that’s enough. That should be enough.”