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Poll: 59 percent see why 'Redskins' is offensive to Native Americans

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

The Redskins' controversy doesn't appear to be going away any time soon. (USATSI)

On Oct. 9, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder wrote an open letter to fans explaining why the team wouldn't be changing its name. Snyder cited several polls in his letter, among them, an AP poll taken in May where 79 percent of respondents said they didn't have a problem with the Redskins name.

A new poll was released on Wednesday and it's safe to say that Snyder probably won't be referencing any time soon. In a poll commissioned by the Oneida Indian Nation, 59 percent of respondents say Native Americans have a right to feel offended by the term Redskins.

Among Redskins fans polled, a total of 46 percent of respondents said a name change would not lessen their support for the team. Another 23 percent said that a name change would actually make them even more of a Washington fan.

The poll of 500 adults in the Washington D.C. area was conducted by SurveyUSA and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

In his letter, Snyder said he respects people who disagree, but he has no plans to change the team's name.

I respect the opinions of those who disagree. I want them to know that I do hear them, and I will continue to listen and learn. But we cannot ignore our 81 year history, or the strong feelings of most of our fans as well as Native Americans throughout the country. After 81 years, the team name "Redskins" continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come.

The NFL plans to meet with representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation in November to have a conversation about the Redskins team name. Snyder's been invited to attend, but has yet to confirm if he'll be there. Among those polled, 77 percent of respondents believe Snyder should attend.

"You cannot poll morality, and our hope is that Mr. Synder will demonstrate true leadership and change the offensive name, not because of what any public opinion studies show, but because it's the right thing to do," Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter said. "However, this polling information is valuable because it shows that the team has nothing to fear economically by changing its name. In fact, the data indicates that the team stands to actually gain support from its fans by finally making the right decision and changing the name."

President Obama and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell both seem open to a name change, but as Goodell said in September, the decision is ultimately Snyder's to make.

 
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