Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy acknowledged that the owners in the league have held discussions regarding the Washington Redskins nickname, according to Sports Illustrated. Murphy was formerly the athletic director at Colgate University when the school’s nickname from Red Raiders to Raiders.
Speaking at Marquette Law School, Murphy said, “There have been discussions at the league level. We have had some discussions at owners’ meetings. Dan has made presentations. Quite honestly, I think with all the issues we are facing, with domestic violence and concussions, it’s probably not at the top of the list.”
Murphy pointed out that the Green Bay is “right in the middle of the Oneida Nation,” and thus the Packers are “very sensitive” to the issue. The Oneida Nation has been targeting Redskins owner Dan Snyder for his refusal to change the team’s name, asserting earlier in 2014 that he “continues to proudly promote bigotry by using a dictionary-defined racial slur as his team’s name.” Snyder has explained his position by insisting that using “Redskins” is a term of honor and respect.
But Murphy said the issue was more mundane than that, saying, “I think when it gets to the point where it’s costing the team and the league money, then you will start to see real serious discussion about it.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had taken a stand supporting Snyder in January, telling a room full of reporters, and owner such as Robert Kraft, Arthur Blank, and Jerry Richardson:
Let me remind you that this is a name of a football team, a football team that has had that name for eighty years and has presented the name in a way that has honored Native Americans. We recognize that there are some that don’t agree with the name and we have listened and respected that. But if you look at the numbers, including in Native American communities, in a Native American community poll, nine out of ten supported the name. Eight out of ten Americans in the general population would not like us to change the name…. Let’s not forget that this is the name of a football team.
Yet one year ago Goodell had left the door open for further discussion, telling a Washington D.C. radio station, “If one person is offended, we have to listen.”
The issue became even more heated on Tuesday, when the Federal Communications Commission announced it would consider punishing broadcasters who use the name “Redskins” on their broadcasts. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said the FCC would consider a petition filed to revoke a Washington radio station’s broadcast license for using the nickname.
Wheeler said the FCC would “be looking into that petition. There are a lot of names and descriptions that were used over time that are inappropriate today. And I think the name that is attributed to the Washington football club is one of those.”