ESPN poll: More than 70 percent think Redskins should keep nickname

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled in June that the Washington Redskins\' name is "disparaging of Native Americans" and should be stripped of trademark protection. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Washington Redskins’ nickname has long drawn controversy, but a new poll shows that nearly three-quarters of Americans think the team’s name should stay.

A poll by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” found that 71 percent of the Americans polled are in favor of keeping the nickname. Despite the high percentage, the number is down from 89 percent when the question was first asked 22 years ago.

On the other hand, 23 percent of Americans polled said the team name should change, up from 8 percent in 1992 and up 9 percentage points just in the last year.

ESPN polled more than 1,000 Americans between Aug. 20 and Aug. 24 to determine the results.

ESPN’s poll found a higher percentage of those who think the nickname should stay compared with WTOP’s Beltway Poll. Among the 604 D.C.-area adults reached by phone for the WTOP Beltway Poll, 61 percent supported keeping the Redskins name. The poll was taken between June 20 and June 26.

ESPN found that 68 percent of people think the nickname is not disrespectful of Native Americans, compared to just 9 percent who say it is “a lot” disrespectful.

Redskins players shared their thoughts with ESPN and 26 players said the team should keep the name, one person suggested changing it, while 24 refused to answer.

In June, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office voted to cancel six uses of “Redskins” trademarked from 1967 to 1990, saying the name is “disparaging of Native Americans.” The team formally appealed the ruling in August.

The Redskins have been under sustained pressure to defend the name over the last 18 months, with major political, church and sports figures joining the debate and saying it should be changed.

Team owner Dan Snyder has vowed never to change the name, calling it a “badge of honor.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP and @WTOPSports on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

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