Dan Snyder says Redskins name is 'not an issue'

Dan Snyder says the Redskins aren't the issue. (USATSI)
Dan Snyder says the Redskins aren't the issue. (USATSI)

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In rare public remarks, Redskins owner Dan Snyder said Tuesday that instead of criticizing the team's nickname, the focus should be on the issues facing Native Americans.

"We understand the issues out there, and we're not an issue," Snyder said, via the Associated Press. "The real issues are real-life issues, real-life needs, and I think it's time that people focus on reality."

Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter disagrees.

“If Dan Snyder thinks it is acceptable for a billionaire to market, promote, and profit off of a dictionary defined racial slur, then he’s living in an alternate universe,” Halbritter said in a press release, via PFT. “If he wants to focus on reality, here’s a reality check: The longer he insists on slurring Native Americans, the more damage he will keep doing to Native American communities, and the more he will become synonymous with infamous segregationist George Preston Marshall, who originally gave the team this offensive name.”

Snyder announced last month 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."

That news came amid ongoing criticism from various groups who find the Redskins name offensive. And the creation of a new foundation hasn't changed that perspective.

Last week, the National Indian Gaming Association, a nonprofit that includes 184 Indian nations as members, canceled its sponsorship of a charity golf event in Arizona Saturday because it doesn't want to be associated with the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, which just so happens to be the official sponsor.

"It's a blatant attempt to try to buy out the issue," Ernest Stevens, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, told USAToday.com.

And in March, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nev.) criticized the newly created foundation and predicted that the team would change its name in the coming years.

“Dan Snyder, he's got a great new deal,” Reid told the Washington Post at the time. “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. ...  I think the name will be changed within the next three years.

And while Snyder wants people to "focus on reality," the other reality is this: He hasn't budged off his proclamation from last May when he said, "We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER -- you can use caps."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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