SBD/February 3, 2014/Franchises

Goodell Says NFL Is Talking, Listening To Native Americans Who Oppose Redskins Name

Goodell spent the last year talking to many Native-American leaders about the name
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed various topics Friday in his annual State of the League address, but perhaps his strongest comments were reserved for a question dealing with the Redskins name. Goodell said he has "been spending the last year talking to many of the leaders in the Native-American communities" about the name, adding, "We are listening." Goodell: "We are trying to make sure we understand the issues. Let me remind you, this is the name of a football team, a football team that's had this name for 80 years and has presented the name in a way that has honored Native-Americans.” He noted in Native-American communities, "Nine out of 10 supported the name" (NFL Network, 1/31). In DC, Mark Maske noted Goodell’s latest comments on the topic came one day after NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith said it is appropriate for the sport’s leaders to have “a broad discussion” with interested parties about the team’s name. Smith: "I grew up a Redskin fan and I grew up in Washington. And as we’ve said before, I think we’re in a better world if we’re not intentionally offending anyone" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/31).

HARD TO BELIEVE: SI’s Jim Trotter said he was "shocked" Goodell got the comment about the Redskins name being a tribute to Native Americans "out of his mouth without choking." Trotter: "That was an embarrassment. ... It was used as a means to exclude people from society. So how could you ever say that name is to honor a group of people?" ("Rome," CBS Sports Network, 1/31). CBS' Amy Trask said, “I find it a bit incomprehensible that we are sitting here in 2014 discussing whether it’s okay to use a derogatory slur for a team name. It’s just utterly incomprehensible, but apparently we are still talking about it” ("That Other Pregame Show," CBS Sports Network, 1/31).

NOT FOR EVERYONE TO JUDGE: Former Redskins TE and ESPN Radio 980 DC's Chris Cooley appeared on ESPN2's "Olbermann" last week and discussed the team name. Cooley said, "It’s really hard for someone like you or I to say. I’m a regular Caucasian-American, who doesn’t have a good idea of what it means to be called names. I can’t say exactly how those people feel, but what I can say is that the Redskins have done a body of research and determined that there are a lot of Native Americans who are really proud of this name." He added, "Now, for me, it’s not to say if it’s right or wrong. But until it’s determined that this one set of people has decided on what is right or wrong, I support the name Redskins because I believe it’s honoring what they represent" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/31).
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