A Washington Post poll released Thursday reveals that a vast majority of Native Americans don’t have a problem with Washington’s NFL team mascot, the Redskins.
Over the course of five months and hundreds of interviews with Native Americans, researchers discovered that 90 percent of those surveyed are not offended by the team name — even after what the paper called a “national movement to change the football team’s moniker.”
Nearly three-quarters of poll responders, 73 percent, said the term “Redskin” itself is not disrespectful — and 78 percent of Native Americans said the Redskins mascot issue is largely or entirely unimportant.
How The Washington Post conducted the survey on the Redskins namehttps://t.co/1TqKz6fpnJ— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 19, 2016
The Post then asked: “If a NON-Native American person called you a Redskin, would you be personally offended, or not?” A full 80 percent of those polled said they would not be offended.
According to the Post, the attitudes of Native Americans toward the Redskins name is largely unchanged from a 12-year-old poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, despite several years of vocal protests against the name.
The Redskins are embroiled in a fight to regain federal trademark protections, which were canceled by a federal judge in July (though the cancellation does not officially go into effect until the team exhausts all court appeals). In 2013, as the fight over the trademark and accusations of racial insensitivity percolated, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder told USA Today that he had no intention of ever changing the team name:
"We will never change the name of the team," Snyder told USA TODAY Sports this week. "As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season."
What if his football team loses an ongoing federal trademark lawsuit? Would he consider changing it then?
"We'll never change the name," he said. "It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."
When the poll results came out, Snyder issued this statement, according to the Post:
The Washington Redskins team, our fans and community have always believed our name represents honor, respect and pride. Today’s Washington Post polling shows Native Americans agree. We are gratified by this overwhelming support from the Native American community, and the team will proudly carry the Redskins name.
The Post concluded the report with a note that, though the controversy over the name has gone on for years, no outlet has bothered to measure "what the country’s 5.4 million Native Americans think about the controversy" until now.
And the feeling of Native Americans seemed clear: "Their responses to The Post poll were unambiguous: Few objected to the name, and some voiced admiration."