It was reported on Monday, March 24 by the Washington Post that Washington Redskins Coach Dan Snyder announced his Original Americans Foundation, a foundation that aims to aid Native Americans in need. The organization has already donated 3,000 coats and aided in the purchase of a backhoe to a tribe, according to the Post article. The creation of this foundation is interesting, because it is following a year of harsh criticism towards Snyder’s choice to not change the team’s name in spite of the fact that many find it to be an offensive term towards the very people that the Original Americans Foundation aims to aid. If the foundation is an attempt at an apology for his unwillingness to consider changing the team’s name, it is certainly an interesting place to start.
While one certainly cannot argue with 3,000 coats and a backhoe, there is a lingering feeling that Snyder does not quite understand the controversy over the name. It is not a matter of passing relevance that can simply be patched up by buying tribes, but an issue of a racial slur with hundreds of years of pain and genocide behind it being used to represent a professional enfranchised team. Money might just be the last thing that is needed to fix this particular issue. However, money is very likely the main issue that Snyder has with changing the Redskins’ name, as it would require a major overhaul in branding and merchandising. Perhaps this is a topic best decided upon in the absence of monetary considerations. Perhaps it is broad moral issue.
When asked for their opinion on the matter, Shepherd students seemed to be confused and slightly amused by this move by Coach Snyder.
“It seems almost hypocritical,” mused history major Jackson Muse. “I can’t imagine how he came up with this idea without realizing how contradictory it sounds.”
“When I first heard about it, I thought it was some kind of early April Fool’s Day prank,” said senior Tyler Anderson. “I don’t feel too strongly on the topic, but this seems like the kind of thing comedians would make fun of,” he added.
“Dan Snyder is making some weird decisions; I feel like he’s almost mocking people who want him to change the name now,” remarked business major Corey Matthews.
It is a step in the right direction for Snyder and the Washington Redskins Nation; however, I do feel like it must be difficult to be taken seriously as a foundation benefiting Native Americans when your program was created by the owner of the Washington Redskins.If Snyder wants his new stance on Native American wellbeing to be taken seriously, then he should seriously consider changing the team name.
What do you think? Should Snyder finally change the name? Why or why not? How do you feel about the Original Americans Foundation? Let us know @SUPicket on Twitter or at supicket.com in the comments section.