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Volume 24 No. 157
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Redskins Facing Increasing Pressure From Media Members To Change Name

Following NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's comments last week that the league should listen to fans saying the Redskins' name is offensive, the debate over whether the team should change its name was a major topic of conversation over the weekend on sports television programming. CBSSN analyst and former Raiders Chief Exec Amy Trask said the Redskins have an "opportunity to do something very powerful and very important by changing the team name and logo." Trask: "The word 'Redskins' has been widely used throughout our history as a derogatory, disparaging slur. Try this: substitute for the word 'Redskins' any other derogatory slur, and think of that as a team name. Changing the team name and logo really can inspire people and encourage people to treat everyone respectfully. I do hope the team takes this opportunity to do something very, very special" ("That Other Pregame Show," CBSSN, 9/15). ESPN's Keith Olbermann noted that Goodell's reaction to the Redskins name and a possible change is "still pretty tepid," but comparing comments he made in June in support of the name to his recent radio interview "are not close to being the same thing." Olbermann said Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder will "change the name ... for the reasons everybody in his position does, everybody in the middle of a decades-old controversy in which the forces of humanity and enlightenment clash with the discarded values of disrespect and prejudice." Olbermann: "He'll do it for money" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 9/13). Former Washington Post Sports Editor George Solomon said Goodell has "gone further than he's ever gone before -- or any NFL commissioner has gone before -- in regard to the team considering changing its name," and it is "very significant." The "public support for the name change is growing" and the "mood is changing" ("Outside The Lines," ESPN2, 9/13).

ISSUE COULD COME OUT OF SNYDER'S HANDS: Washington Post columnist Mike Wise said if the name-change issue "continues going in the way that (it) is going," the NFL will "take the matter out of Dan Snyder’s hands eventually." Wise: "I believe there will be such a backlash that at some point ... this notion will go up to a vote of the NFL Board of Governors and the other owners." He added, "If it’s costing the team money, essentially the name will change." ESPN's Andrew Brandt referenced Goodell's recent comments and said, "Nothing like that is said (in the NFL) without some motive behind it. You don’t just put those things out there without something behind it." Brandt: "We’re talking about external public relations doing the right think publicly, but really this is going to come down to … internal relations between the owners and, specifically, between Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell." The issue likely will be "some form of a political conversation between the owner and the commissioner, perhaps with other owners getting involved" ("Outside The Lines," ESPN2, 9/15).

: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes the Redskins name controversy was "touched on ... barely" during Fox' pregame show yesterday, as the net "showed a quick video snippet of protesters outside Lambeau Field" prior to the Redskins-Packers game. Fox' Curt Menefee said, "This has been a controversial topic for quite a while. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder says he will never change the name, but something tells me this issue is not going away.” Raissman: "Something tells me the NFL’s TV partners won’t be giving this issue comprehensive coverage" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/16). NBC's Carson Daly noted "members of multiple Native-American tribes showed up and had a protest despite the bad weather and that obviously got a lot of attention." Daly: "The real question is, do all of this sequence of events show any real impact? The answer is clearly yes." A Google search was shown and there was a "spike in interest over use of the name Washington Redskins" while a survey showed 60% of respondents said the team should not change the name ("Today," NBC, 9/16).