D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), part of a fresh congressional effort to pressure the Washington Redskins to change their name, said a large majority of Americans think the football team should keep its name because they haven’t been properly educated on ethnic sensitivities yet.
An Associated Press poll conducted in mid-April found 79 percent agreeing that the Redskins should stay. Just 11 percent said the name should be changed.
In the last national poll on the subject, in 1992 before the Redskins won the Super Bowl, 89 percent voted to keep the name and seven percent said a name change was in order.
“We understand what the principle is on the part of Native Americans. I’m not surprised that most Americans don’t see any harm in the word. Most of us have had to be educated by Native Americans, who after all are only less than 2 percent of the population. They don’t exactly have a microphone every day,” Norton said this morning on MSNBC. “With African Americans, you know all about it.”
Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder said earlier this month, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Norton equated “Redskins” with using the N-word.
“Look, the man inherited the name, so what — what principle is he standing on? This is the same Dan Snyder that sued a paper here, the City Paper, which wrote an article that was very critical of his management of the Redskins. But the centerpiece of his suit was a photo that he said disparaged him as a Jew,” she said. “So here is a man who has shown sensibilities based on his own ethnic identity who refuses to recognize the sensibilities of American Indians.”
The delegate noted that a member of the D.C. city council has suggested changing the team name to the “Redtails.”
“The Redtails, of course, was the name of the Tuskegee Airmen, a much revered name,” Norton said, adding that Snyder’s stand against changing the name “seems to me nothing.”
“In fact, I think he’d make a lot of money because he’d have to then redo all those sweatshirts and helmets and paraphernalia that’s made him millions of dollars,” she said. “…I’m a big Redskins fan, so understand this is said with love.”