WASHINGTON – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is defending the Redskins name to a bipartisan group of representatives who want it to be changed.
The group says the name is offensive to Native Americans.
In response to their concerns, Goodell said the group should consider the history of the team’s name.
“The team began as the Boston Braves in 1932, a name that honored the courage and heritage of Native Americans. The following year, the name was changed to the Redskins … to honor the team’s then-head coach, William “Lone Star” Dietz. Neither in intent nor use was the name ever meant to denigrate Native Americans or offend any group,” Goodell says in his letter.
Goodell referenced the diversity of Redskins fans, the favorable feeling toward the team’s name by local tribe leaders and recent polls suggest only about 10 percent of those surveyed consider the name objectionable or feel it should be changed.
He acknowledged the issues raised regarding the team’s name are complex and stressed the NFL’s willingness to work with lawmakers going forward.