Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is calling Dan Snyder’s new foundation “a phony deal, like everything else [he’s] done.
“Dan Snyder, he’s got a great new deal,” Reid told the Washington Post Thursday. “He’s going to throw a few blankets to the Indians and get a tax deduction for it. I can’t imagine why the man doesn’t realize that the name is going to change. It’s only a question of when it’s going to change. That’s the only question.”
And Reid gave an estimate for when the name will change: three years. He told CBS that Native Americans are organized and will see to it that the name is changed. “We have Native Americans who now are not all poor. We’ve got these Indian gaming establishments who have money, who are gonna help with this. And Dan Snyder’s not the only person in the world with money.”
He also compared Snyder’s poor attempt at being charitable to two situations in which mounting controversy eventually forced sports organizations to change their name. The Washington Wizards, originally the Washington Bullets, changed their name because of the numerous shootings in D.C.; and the situation at the University of North Dakota where Ralph Engelstad built an arena for the school’s hockey team to force it to keep its Fighting Sioux logo. The university no longer uses the logo.
Reid has spoken out against the Redskins name before. In December he told The Hill, “I think Snyder is so shortsighted on this” and “we live in a society where you can’t denigrate a race of people.”
Also according to CBS, on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell commended Snyder for the new foundation and said critics of the team name are in the minority. “I think Dan is being very responsible in listening,” Goodell said. “It’s also very clear when you look at public opinion, when you look at the polls that 90 percent of Redskins fans support the name. They believe it’s something that represents pride. And the general population also supports it overwhelmingly. He’s trying to be responsible in listening and recognizing that people have differing views.”
But it’s not going to get any easier for Snyder to live in the Maryland/D.C. area. President Obama and several Congressional Members have already supported changing the team’s name.
Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Tom Cole sent a letter to Goodell insisting that the name is a racial slur and must change; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently said that the U.S. Patent Office should not protect ‘Redskins’; and, in a press release highly critical of Snyder’s new foundation, Rep. Betty McCollum said in a press release, “Team owner Dan Snyder wants to keep profiting from his team’s racist brand and use those profits to attempt to buy the silence of Native Americans with a foundation that is equal parts public relations scheme and tax deduction.
“Snyder has to realize, he is on the losing side of history,” Reid said. “And the sooner he does it, the better off we are.”