Not even politicians are buying Dan Sndyer's sudden soft spot for the plight of Native Americans. The Redskins owner announced this week the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation which, in his words, will "provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities."
But the team and the league continue to face criticism from various group who find the Redskins name offensive. And that includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who called Snyder's latest effort, "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.”
Reid, it turns out, has an answer. He figures that the Redskins name won't be around much longer.
“I think the name will be changed within the next three years,” he said. “You know, I may slip a year or two, but I think it's just a question of time. Because Native Americans are organized. 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. ...
“Snyder has to realize, he is on the losing side of history,” Reid continued. “And the sooner he does it, the better off we are. The Wizards, you know, they were the Washington Bullets. With all the killing that took place, the murders in Washington, Abe Pollin -- a very nice man -- decided 'I don't need any of this.' So they changed it to the Washington Wizards. We're all used to the Washington Wizards. And I don't know what [the Redskins will] change the name to, but we'll get used to it really quick.”
We're guessing Snyder knows this too.
Our crazy conspiracy theory: We wouldn't be surprised if it's part of Snyder's grand strategy to leverage the Redskins name for all its worth before ultimately deciding that a change would be in everyone's best interests. Native Americans will be happy, critics will be happy, and Snyder will be happy with the financial windfall coming his way from all the new merchandising.
For now, Snyder hasn't budged on his proclamation from last May: The Redskins name will never change.
And on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell not only commended Snyder for the new foundation, but 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.”