SBD/March 26, 2014/Franchises

Redskins' Snyder Solicits Support From Owners For Native American Foundation

Allen said other owners supported the Redskins' new foundation
Redskins Owner Dan Snyder yesterday at the NFL owners meetings introduced new Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation CEO Gary Edwards "to fellow NFL officials and solicited their support" for the foundation created to benefit Native Americans, according to Vargas & Jones of the WASHINGTON POST. Snyder had announced the foundation to fans Monday night in a four-page letter which stated its goal to "address the many needs that he and other Redskins officials witnessed during more than two dozen trips to reservations." He "declined to comment about the meeting and the charitable organization." But Edwards and Redskins Exec VP & GM Bruce Allen said that the announcement "was met with support from other owners." They also "dismissed criticism from some Native Americans that Snyder is trying to buy favor for keeping the controversial team name at a time when the pressure to change it is unprecedented." Edwards: "I find that to be insulting." Edwards said that at Snyder's request, he "conducted a survey of 100 reservations, asking residents about their most pressing needs." The foundation already "has provided 3,000 coats to tribal members and purchased a backhoe for a tribe in Nebraska." Edwards said that 40 more projects "are underway." Some of the efforts will include "donating Kindles and iPads to students, digging new wells on reservations that lack running water and improving the living conditions of elderly Native Americans." Neither Allen nor Edwards "would say how much money will be invested in these projects." But Allen said that the foundation "will have nonprofit status, so all records will be public" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/26).

CONTROVERSY QUELLED? A WASHINGTON POST editorial states no matter how much Snyder's foundation "accomplishes, it cannot make his team’s name any less offensive -- or negate the need to change it." If Snyder "has been really 'listening and learning,' as his letter stated, he will realize the only way to end the controversy about his team’s unacceptable name is to change it" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/26). In DC, Mike Wise writes under the header, "Latest Nickname Outreach Is A Step, But Without A Direction." Helping the "neediest in Indian Country is, on its face, a good thing." If only it "came with no strings attached." If only it "happened organically and not because of an owner’s desire to keep the name of his football team, to keep his heritage" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/26). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell writes, "The establishment of a foundation feels more like damage control" (USA TODAY, 3/26). Clinical psychologist Michael Friedman said, "It is a false dichotomy to say Native Americans have to decide between either working on problems like poverty or being concerned about a dictionary-defined racial slur. By juxtaposing that [Snyder] seems to be trying to say that, you can't do both" (USA TODAY, 3/26). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, "It's almost literally the least he could do" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN, 3/25). ESPN's Bomani Jones said of Snyder, "Most of the people who are oppoosed to the name of that franchise are a little bit too smart to fall for this con he's running." Jones, on Snyder's letter: "I notice he doesn't call them 'Redskins.' That seems pretty interesting considering it's supposed to be a term of endearment" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/25).
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