In an interview with Chris Cooley on ESPN 980 in Washington, Dan Snyder says that when he visited tribes in Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota, it was not a PR stunt, but something “really genuine.”
“When you go out there — and I would just encourage people, the politicians that have fun with our football team’s name — I would encourage them to go out there and learn and listen to really what’s happening in Indian Country so they can help Indian Country,” Snyder said to ESPN. “This is not PR. We do not have PR people doing this stuff. This is really genuine.”
This is the first time Snyder has come out against critics of his Original Americans Foundation, and now, his new website “RedskinsFacts.com”; arguing that his sudden interest in Indian Country is not a PR stunt.
Dan Snyder also told Cooley that when he visited Indian Country, and later decided to start the foundation, he found that there were many Native fans, of not just the Washington football team, but of other teams with Indian names.
“They love this team,” he told ESPN about his football team. “They actually have a tremendous amount of fans on reservations, not only for our team but for many teams that have Native American imagery: the Atlanta Braves, the Kansas City Chiefs, the (Chicago) Blackhawks. They really, really are proud of these teams, and I learned more of the truth.”
But Snyder is indisputably seeking his own truths by starting the website, making his second quest for reality, once again, questionable.
The Washington Post reported that the team is paying for ads to promote the website; and last month, as ICTMN reported, Slate said that the site is linked to a crisis management company, putting Snyder’s “this is really” genuine pledge into serious debate.
The website is littered with facts and reasons why the team’s name should stay. But, according to The Post, some of the facts that are packed on to the site are debatable. Especially in reference to the history behind the team’s name.
In Glenn Kessler recent article for the paper, he argues that Snyder’s site conveniently leaves some legitimate facts out. Particularly about the origin of the name “red skin,” in which the site says is “entirely benign.”
From the Post:
The RedskinsFacts web site thus artfully tries to skate past the change in how “redskins” was used and perceived. While the earliest references may have been benign, and Indian leaders at one point may have referred to themselves as “red,” “red men,” or “red-skins,” the phrase increasingly acquired unfavorable meanings by the late 19th century.
You can read the rest of Kessler’s story here.
Snyder also tells ESPN 980, a station he owns, “We can bring to light a lot of the real-life issues, the real-life needs and things that are going on” in Indian Country.
But he immediately shifts to a soggy explanation of what his foundation has done, and on the website, when clicking on the “show your support” tab, it asks for support of the team’s name, not support for the individual tribes or how to get involved with the “real-issues” that natives face.
From the website:
The Redskins organization enjoys support from many groups: current and former players and coaches, other dedicated fan organizations, media personalities—and most importantly, Native Americans themselves. Below, you’ll find several ways you can stand up and get involved.
Under the list of ways to “Support” the team, or “get involved” there are no direct links to any of the tribes Snyder visited, tribal affiliated groups or organizations. Instead, they suggest that the way to help with the real issues in Indian Country is to join one of the many Facebook fan groups such as “Save the Washington Redskin”, “Redskins Fever” and “Native Americans Support the Redskins.”
“We don’t really brag about it,” Snyder said. “[The Original Americans Foundation] is even more so that way. This is something that needs to be done. We were moved. It’s something that in five years, in 10 years, in 15 years, in 20 years, we’ll be very proud of.”