Redskins owner Daniel Snyder contends that instead of engaging in superficial “chit-chat, cocktail talk” over his team’s name, there are more important issues to be addressed regarding Native Americans.
Snyder told former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, co-host of ESPN 980’s The Drive, that the logo for the Redskins was crafted in 1971 by a Native American chief of the Blackfoot Nation. He allegedly explained, “Hey, I want to create a logo for the team, because we really think it should represent us.”
In the face of criticism over the team name, the Redskins owner has been making a difference for Native Americans. He has made many visits to reservations and has established the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. Snyder told Cooley that by going out to all the reservations and talking with Native Americans he discovered that they actually are big fans of the Redskins. Moreover, there is a tremendous amount of support for other teams that have Native American names–the Atlanta Braves, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chicago Blackhawks. The names frequently hold a special place of pride for them, he contends.
Snyder laments that too many in the media and on the internet simply try to increase ratings or up the amount of clicks they can get by exploiting the Redskins controversy. Snyder asserted that the “reality is, no one ever talks about what’s going on on the reservations, the fact that they have such high unemployment rates, health care issues, education issues, environmental issues, lack of water, lack of electricity.”
The important issues concerning the reservations don’t make good party talk. Nevertheless, Snyder has dedicated himself to helping those that live on them. “I said after what I saw, and listened, and learned, it moved me. It moved me, it moved my wife, it moved my family, it moved everyone who went with us,” he remarked after visiting several reservations.
Snyder is helping a Pueblo tribe called the Zuni in New Mexico. “They have 67 percent unemployment. We talk in our country that we’re now at six percent or whatever unemployment and that’s too high. How about 67 percent unemployment? You’d sit there and say, ‘No, it can’t be.'”
As far as politicians who spend their time ranting about the Redskins name and how it insults Native Americans, Snyder says, “I would encourage them to actually go out there and learn, and listen to really what’s happening in Indian country, so that they could help Indian country.”