Below are passages from the instantly infamous open letter that Dan Snyder just sent to “Redskins Nation” announcing his new charity organization, “The Washington Redskins Original American Foundation.” People can read the entire letter here. In addition to being profoundly offensive, the letter is also repetitive and turgid, so I only reproduced “the best” parts below. My comments are in bold. Note of caution: this letter was written under the council of team advisors George “Macaca” Allen, Ari Fleischer and Lanny Davis. They are like 1927 Yankees of wretched Washington DC lobbyists, people whose fingerprints on wars, occupations and dictators would keep the Hague busy for the next decade. If you can’t stand Beltway culture, if the thought of well-heeled lobbyists oozing from one five-star steak house to the next turns your stomach, just realize that these are the people who thought the below letter was a good idea.
To Everyone in our Washington Redskins Nation:
Several months ago I wrote you about my personal reflections on our team name and on our shared Washington Redskins heritage.
A heritage marked by being the last team in the NFL to integrate and a heritage that was launched by the proudly racist and arch segregationist minstrel lover, George Preston Marshall. He is, to use the parlance of the moment, on the Mt. Rushmore of evil bastards in sports history. I’m starting to think that Snyder wants to knock him off of his perch.
I wrote then—and believe even more firmly now—that our team name captures the best of who we are and who we can be, by staying true to our history and honoring the deep and enduring values our name represents.
To be “true” to your “history,” you would need to make your coach wear feathers in his hair, lie about him being Native American and then trade away all of your black players. The “values” the name represents can be summed up in a story I heard from a young woman named Mary from the Omaha Nation who spoke about how it would be shouted when bullies would hurt her at school. Her narrative and the narratives of others actually damaged by this name never enter Snyder’s consciousness.
In that letter, I committed myself to listening and learning from all voices with a perspective about our Washington Redskins name.
This is a lie. Daniel Snyder has actually refused to meet with the Oneida Nation, the Choctaw Nation, the Red Cloud Nation, the Seminole Nation and every tribal council that has voted to call upon Snyder to change the name.
What would my resolve to honoring our legacy mean if I myself—as the owner of and a passionate believer in the Washington Redskins — didn’t stay true to my word? So over the past four months, my staff and I traveled to 26 Tribal reservations across twenty states to listen and learn first-hand about the views, attitudes, and experiences of the Tribes. We were invited into their homes, their Tribal Councils and their communities to learn more about the extraordinary daily challenges in their lives.
“I appreciated your sincerity to learn about our culture and the real-life issues we face on a daily basis,” Pueblo of Zuni Governor Arlen Quetawki told us after we toured his reservation. “I look forward to working together with you to improve the lives of Native Americans in any way possible.”
Some of my BEST FRIENDS… are, um, Pueblo of Zuni Governors.
The more I heard, the more I’ve learned, and the more I saw, the more resolved I became about helping to address the challenges that plague the Native American community. In speaking face-to-face with Native American leaders and community members, it’s plain to see they need action, not words.