Sincerest greetings and felicitations to each and every one. I am Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins NFL franchise. The changing of the leaves and the crispness of the air can only mean one thing, it’s football season in America. It is with the greatest enthusiasm that I watch my boys, the Washington Redskins, take the field this season with the NFL’s most exciting young quaterback, Robert Griffin III, once again in good health and fine spirit.
However, I am of course aware and do acknowledge that there are those among us in this greatest of nations who take offense to our use of the name Redskins. Those good hearted and fair minded patriots are concerned that ”redskin” is a racist term, a public indecency equivalent to using the “n word”. Now, these are not most Americans. Most Americans responded to a poll taken with good faith and integrity that they do not desire the name Redskins to be changed. Even a poll of redskins themselves shows overwhelmingly that redskins are not offended by our use of the word redskins as a team name.
But to those concerned citizens, I suggest that you are perhaps focusing solely on a name while unfairly overlooking the fine history and tradition that the name Washington Redskins represents. You see, beginning in the 1950’s, Redskins owner George Preston Marshall took an ailing franchise and propelled it on the course toward greatness upon which we still travel today. In 1951, the Redskins were the first NFL team to have televised games. In 1961, Marshall moved the team to the larger and more modern D.C. Stadium. And in 1962, the Washington Redskins became the last NFL team to allow for racial integration on its roster. Marshall was a man who understood his obligations to tradition and resisted signing blackskins for 18 years after the first blackskins began to play in the NFL. In addition to this legacy, did you know that the Redskins also have three Super Bowl victories to their credit? The last was as recent as 1991!
When I took control of the team in 1999, I knew that I had to do everything I could to uphold this proud tradition. The Redskins name is an entrenched and immovable part of that tradition and thus it is my duty to honor the legacy and history of the redskins who inspired our team name. So, when I say that the Redskins will “NEVER” change their name, I stand in solidarity with actual redskins who could likewise never change the fact of their intensely fire-engine red skin. In so doing, I feel a kinship with that other great servant of tradition, George Preston Marshall. I imagine that perhaps I now experience some of the same struggles he faced as he fought racial integration of the Redskins for nearly two decades. Continuing to honor the red skinned peoples of this great land with our great football team is the only way I know to keep Marshall’s stewardship alive.
And look at the great job I’ve done. Since purchasing the team, the Redskins have earned an impressive record of 102-126, winning nearly half of their games. Of course, football fans love nothing more than a fiery, strong-willed head coach and so I’ve treated Redskins fans to a whopping seven head coaches in just thirteen seasons. Who wouldn’t want their heritage associated with that? I’ve also been planning for the fiscal solvency of this organization for years to come by instituting novel measures such as charging fans exorbitant amounts to watch preseason practices and suing unemployed season ticket holders who can no longer afford their ticket packages. These efforts have paid off. According to Forbes, the Washington Redskins is the third most valuable NFL franchise, worth more than $1.5 billion. Fans continuously show their support for the Redskins name, purchasing millions of dollars in merchandise bearing the name per year.
I’m proud that our team's name has become a touchpoint for this very important conversation and I encourage all concerned to keep the dialogue going. But to those who feel that the Redskins name is a racist trivialization of an entire race of people, I urge you to look past the name and see an organization built on tradition - one worthy of a name based on the combined heritages of all red skinned people, regardless of tribe. Indeed, the Redskin Nation welcomes you among its ranks too, whether you be a redskin, whiteskin, blackskin, yellowskin or brownskin.
Owner, Washington Redskins