Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said Tuesday it’s time for people to “focus on reality” concerning Native American matters instead of criticizing the team’s nickname.
“We understand the issues out there, and we’re not an issue,” Snyder said. “The real issues are real-life issues, real-life needs, and I think it’s time that people focus on reality.”
Challenged by those who consider the name “Redskins” offensive, Snyder and his staff recently traveled to Native American reservations and last month established a foundation to assist American Indian tribes. He had declined requests to answer questions about the foundation until Tuesday.
Snyder has insisted he will not change the Redskins’ name, calling it a “badge of honor.” He did not directly answer when asked to respond to those who say the foundation is a way of throwing money at the problem to placate critics. He instead cited the work behind the creation of the foundation.
“I think it tells you that we did our homework — unlike a lot of people,” he said.
The Oneida Indian Nation, which has been at the forefront of the push to change the team’s name, said Snyder is the one who needs to come to grips with reality.
“If Dan Snyder thinks it is acceptable for a billionaire to market, promote and profit off of a dictionary defined racial slur, then he’s living in an alternate universe,” Oneida spokesman Ray Halbritter said in a statement. “If he wants to focus on reality, here’s a reality check: the longer he insists on slurring Native Americans, the more damage he will keep doing to Native American communities, and the more he will become synonymous with infamous segregationist George Preston Marshall, who originally gave the team this offensive name.”
Snyder rarely takes questions from reporters, and his brief remarks came after a ceremony at a local high school. The Redskins are donating $100,000 of the $1 million cost to refurbish the school’s sports field.