(NBC)–For as long as we can remember (and perhaps longer than we would have preferred), we have heard a lot of things from a lot of people regarding the polarizing moniker of Washington’s professional football team.
Yet we have not heard much from the principal figure in this ongoing saga: owner Dan Snyder. Since emphatically stating that“we’ll never change the name…NEVER” last year, Snyder has mostly kept quiet.
Snyder, however, finally opened up about the “Redskins” name in an interview with ESPN 980’s Chris Cooley. (Keep in mind that Cooley is a former player working for a radio station operated by Snyder’s media company.)
That being said, below are some of Snyder’s lengthy answers on questions involving the team’s name.
On what it means to be a “Redskin”:
“It’s honor. It’s respect. It’s pride. And I think that every player here sees it, feels it, every alumni feels it, and it’s a wonderful thing, it’s a historic thing. It’s a very historic franchise, it’s been a pleasure.”
On what he “would iike the fans to understand, factually, about our name and what we’re doing going forward”:
“You know, I think it would be nice, and forget the media from that perspective, but really focus on the fact that — the facts, the history, the truth, the tradition. People talk about the logo, and when we tell them the story, that in 1971 a chief of a tribe named Walter “Blackie” Wetzel actually came to the Redskins. He was the president of NCAI [National Congress of American Indians] and a Montana tribe called Blackfeet Nation at the time, and he said, “Hey, I want to create a logo for the team, because we really think it should represent us.” And he went back to Montana and helped create that logo that we all love.
“And that’s one example of just the facts, and the truth, and the things that a lot of people ignore, and I think that it’s time that people look at the truth, and the history, and real meanings, and look at us for what we are. We’re a historic football team that’s very proud, that has a great legacy, that honors and respects people.”
On what he has learned from visiting several Native American reservations:
“I said, I wrote a letter to the fans last, I think it was last October, and I said I wanted to make sure that I would listen and I would learn. So I set about, and I traveled around, and I remember my wife saying to me, ‘Where are you going now?’ I said, ‘We’re going to Arizona,’ or ‘We’re going to New Mexico,’ or ‘We’re going to South Dakota,’ and all these different states all over the country. And I wanted to meet with the leadership, as well as tribal members, and it was a great, great, uh, quite frankly a lot of fun. It was quite a trip, and we enjoyed it, and it took months to do.
“And what I learned, what I listened and learned, is really that they love this team. They actually have a tremendous amount of fans on reservations, not only for our team, but many teams that have Native American imagery — the Atlanta Braves, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Blackhawks. And they really are proud of these teams, and I think that I learned more of the truth.”