Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder has indicated, in a conversation with The Wall Street Journal, he is open to keeping the team’s temporary name permanently.
When asked about keeping the name for good, Snyder wrote in an email: "Sure, it's possible!"
“If the Washington Football Team name catches on and our fans embrace it then we would be happy to have it as our permanent name,” he wrote. “I think we have developed a very classy retro look and feel,” Snyder told The WSJ.
Snyder went on to write he and his family had considered renaming the team "multiple times" over the years. In the past, the Washington owner had repeatedly denied he would ever change the name, including a now-infamous 2013 statement to USA TODAY: "We'll never change the name," he said. "It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."
“However, over the past few years the name had increasingly become a distraction from our primary focus of football,” Snyder wrote in an email to The WSJ. “So, in the spirit of inclusivity, we made the decision to move forward. We want our future name and brand to stand for something that unifies people of all backgrounds and to continue to be a source of pride for the next 100 years or more.”
Despite announcing the change in July, Snyder still said the organization’s old name “was a source of pride.” This echoes the owner’s defense of the name in the past.
“The Washington Redskin fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride. Hopefully winning. And it’s a positive. Taken out of context — you can take things out of context all over the place — but in this particular case, it is what it is. It’s very obvious,” Snyder said in an interview with ESPN in 2014.
“I’d like them to understand — as I think most do — that the name really means honor, respect.”
This characterization has long been rejected by numerous groups representing Native Americans, including the National Congress of American Indians.
The NCAI counters, "despite the team’s arguments to the contrary, the R-word is not a term of honor or respect, but rather, a term that still connotes racism and genocide for Native peoples and for all others who know of this history and recognize that it is wrong to characterize people by the color of their skin.”
Snyder told The Wall Street Journal he doesn't have a date in mind for when a final decision on the name would come, writing: "Our timeline is to get this right."