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Roger Goodell defends Washington Redskins name in letter to Congress

Washington Redskins helmetNFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the Washington Redskins team name in a recent letter he wrote to Congress, which was revealed to the public on Tuesday. As you know, the Redskins name has garnered a lot of attention over the past year or so as some consider “redskin” to be a racist term. Goodell’s letter was in response to several members of Congress writing him to request that the name be changed.

In the letter, Goodell argued that the nickname was never meant to “denigrate Native Americans or offend any group.” He also included research polls claiming that there are many Native Americans who do not find the name offensive. Despite his argument, Goodell was still ripped by co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus Betty McCollum, who said he used “twisted logic.”

“Goodell’s letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning even larger profits, even if it means exploiting a racist stereotype of Native Americans,” McCollum said. “Would Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder actually travel to a Native American community and greet a group of tribal leaders by saying, ‘Hey, what’s up redskin?’ I think not.”

Snyder insisted last month that his franchise is never going to change its nickname, but eventually it will become impossible to ignore the outrage. Very few deny that “redskin” is a racist term, and clearly Goodell’s letter did little to help the team’s cause. It may take a while, but the NFL is eventually going to get backed into a corner it can’t get out of.

Washington Redskins owner: We will never change team nickname

Washington Redskins helmetThe Washington Redskins are frequently criticized for their offensive nickname. There has been discussion over the years about the Redskins changing their name. Many teams have been pressured to change their offensive logos and/or nicknames, including another team from the DC — the Washington Bullets, which converted to the Washington Wizards in 1997. But team owner Daniel Snyder says he will never change the team’s nickname, regardless of the scrutiny they face, and regardless of how offensive the nickname is.

“We will never change the name of the team,” Snyder told USA TODAY Sports this week. “As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.”

Snyder says he would not even change the team’s nickname if they lose an ongoing federal trademark lawsuit.

“We’ll never change the name,” he said. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

In March, a group of Native Americans appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to argue that the “Redskins should lose their federal trademark protection, based on a law that prohibits registered names that disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable.”

The Redskins were stripped of the trademark in 1999, but the ruling was overturned in 2003 largely because the courts decided the plaintiffs were too old and should have decided to file suit earlier in their lives. The new suit is from younger people.

There is no denying that the name “Redskins” is offensive. What Snyder has in his favor is tradition and the fervent support of a huge fan base, which includes many politicians.

D.C. Councilman David Grosso thinks Redskins should change name to Redtails

Washington-Redskins-helmetThe Washington Redskins have had an increasing amount of controversy surrounding their name over the past several seasons. Many feel that the word “Redskins” is a racist term for Native Americans and should no longer be allowed in a professional sport. David Grosso, a City Council member in Washington, D.C., has proposed a solution.

“Washington’s name has been dishonored by association with the word ‘Redskins,’” Grosso wrote in a resolution, via the Washington Post. “Because it is well known in America and in nations afar that American Indians have experienced utmost suffering and disrespect over the years. It’s been a long time that we’ve had this name associated with Washington, and I think its time we take a stand and change it.”

Grosso’s new name of choice? The Washington Redtails. The name would pay homage to the nickname used by the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, which was the aviation unit that broke the color barrier for US military pilots. And as an added bonus, Grosso noted that you could still keep the feather logo to represent a red-tailed hawk.

“You can still sing the song and everything,” he said, “Hail … to the …Redtails. You can still keep the feather.”

Any name change would take some getting used to, so it’s hard to tell if the Washington Redtails has a good ring to it and could catch on. Personally, I don’t think it’s horrible. That being said, Dan Snyder and company have given no indication that they are open to changing the name of the franchise. Unlike that National Basketball League team that changed its name almost instantly, I don’t see the Redskins budging any time soon.

H/T Pro Football Talk

DC mayor wants Redskins name change discussed

washington redskins logoThe Washington Redskins are the home team for the nation’s political center, yet they still have one of the most politically incorrect nicknames in professional sports.

Currently, the team plays its home games in Landover, Md., and its headquarters are in Ashburn, Va. If the team is to consider a move back into DC’s city limits, the mayor of DC, Vincent C. Gray, wants a nickname change to be discussed.

“I think that if they get serious with the team coming back to Washington, there’s no doubt there’s going to have to be a discussion about that,” Mayor Gray said after a news conference, “and of course the team is going to have to work with us around that issue.”

According to the Washington Post, Gray noted that the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards) and many other teams changed their insensitive or politically incorrect names.

“I think it has become a lightning rod, and I would be love to be able to sit down with the team … and see if a change should be made,” he said. “There’s a precedent for this, and I think there needs to be a dispassionate discussion about this, and do the right thing.”

Many fans and political figures in DC are passionate about the Redskins, and we know from past discussions that there would be plenty of resistance to a name change. We know that the current owner, Dan Snyder, has opposed a name change, so such a process would not be easy.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk

Kyle Shanahan emphatically predicted a Redskins’ NFC East title a year ago

Kyle-Shanahan-RedskinsThe Washington Redskins finished in last place in the NFC East last season. While the addition of Robert Griffin III brought plenty of excitement to the nation’s capital, few experts believed the Redskins would win the NFC East crown in the rookie’s first year as the team’s starting quarterback. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan never cared what the so-called experts thought.

As D.C. Sports Bog reminded us on Wednesday, Shanahan gave an emotional speech to the team before its loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the final game of the season last year. His message was simple — next year is our year.

“Hey, about an hour ago, their D coordinator told us, told [offensive line coach Chris] Foerster, that if the Giants would have lost last week, they were in the playoffs,” young Shanahan said. “He didn’t mention that they still had to beat us today. [Bleep] him, [bleep] these guys, In 2012 the Redskins are gonna be the NFC East champions, and that starts right [bleeping] today.”

Did he actually believe it? We’ll never know for sure, but Shanahan certainly looks pretty good right about now. Rex Grossman predicted the same would happen last season, but he ended up being very, very wrong. Of course, that was before RG3.

Griffin is obviously the big difference-maker, but perhaps there was some truth to what Grossman said about the Redskins at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Shanahan had no way of knowing for sure if Washington would be able to draft Griffin, but he saw the same potential Grossman saw. We love bashing people who make ridiculous predictions that never come true, so it’s only fair to give credit where credit is due. Shanahan was right, and as a result the Redskins are contending for a Super Bowl.

Redskins cheerleader gets engaged before kickoff against Cowboys (Picture)

Redskins-cheerleader-proposal

Sunday night ended up being a tremendous night for Washington Redskins fans, as their team defeated the division rival Dallas Cowboys to clinch the NFC East title and a playoff berth. For one Redskins cheerleader, the victory may not have been the highlight of the evening.

As you can see from the photo above that ABC 2 in Annapolis’ Don Harrison passed along, a Washington cheerleader’s boyfriend proposed to her on the sidelines before kickoff. She said yes. It was obviously a bold move from her boyfriend. Depending on her viewpoint, he either gave her a welcome distraction from the ongoing buzz at FedEx Field or one more thing to think about before the most important home game of the season.

In any event, we’ll give the gentleman somewhere between a B+ and an A- for the effort. It may not beat a proposal on a medal stand, but it certainly tops being rejected in from of an arena full of people.

H/T D.C. Sports Bog

Kirk Cousins will start for Redskins, not Robert Griffin III

It turns out that Robert Griffin III may be human after all.

The Washington Redskins announced late Saturday evening that backup Kirk Cousins will start at quarterback on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns in place of Griffin.

According to The Washington Times’ Rich Campbell, the team said their priorities were to see Griffin’s joint stabilize and not to risk further injury. Griffin was diagnosed with a mild LCL sprain in his right knee after being crushed by Haloti Ngata during last weekend’s win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Griffin indicated on Twitter that he was not happy with the decision.

“The decision was not my own… But I will be there for my team!!! In every way I possibly can,” Griffin wrote.

There is no word if Griffin will be active for the game and able to serve as the backup.

FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Friday that Cousins had taken all the snaps with the first-team offense during the week, so it’s no surprise to hear that the team is going with him as the starter.

Cousins completed both passes he attempted last weekend in relief of Griffin late in the game. He threw for a touchdown and ran for a two-point conversion to help send the game to overtime. Cousins is also a rookie. He was drafted in the fourth round out of Michigan State.