Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has hired a powerful lobbying firm to fight back against a public campaign to change the team’s name. The move comes just ahead of an anti-Redskins commercial, set to air during the NBA Finals.
Snyder has been engaged in an open defense of the Redskins iconic name for quite some time, but he stepped up his efforts in the fight late last year with an emotional letter to the team’s season ticket holders.
Snyder was under fire yet again in May when 50 U.S. senators sent a petition to the NFL requesting that the Redskins immediately change their name. Washington’s general manager Bruce Allen responded to the petition with a reasonable letter titled: ‘The Truth about the Redskins’ Name and Logo.”
In spite of some salient points from Allen — the term “Redskins” is an expression of Native American solidarity, he wrote, and the team’s logo was designed by Native Americans — his words fell on mostly deaf ears.
Snyder’s latest defensive measure came yesterday afternoon as he hired the law firm of McGuireWoods to lobby on behalf of the organization. An anti-Redskins ad prepared by the National Congress of American Indians will air Tuesday night during Game 3 of the NBA Finals:
The commercial, paid for by California’s Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, will air in abbreviated form during the third meeting between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.
Snyder’s hiring of McGuireWoods could be an indication he is growing weary of personally dealing with a sustained campaign by the media to force a name change.
However, it is also a sign he is nowhere near surrendering to his detractors.