Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder released a statement late Monday night announcing that despite widespread calls for the team to change its name, the name and logo would remain the same.
But in lieu of a name change, Snyder has created the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation,” with hopes to “provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for tribal communities.”
Snyder wrote in his letter that after visiting 26 different reservations across the country, he thought the widespread poverty and sky-high substance abuse rates were more important to address than a name. He wrote, “Life expectancies in high poverty Native American communities are the lowest anywhere in the Western Hemisphere — except for Haiti.”
He said the foundation has already begun work distributing shoes and coats, as well as fixing water pipes and providing necessary construction equipment for the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska. Snyder said there are already 40 more projects currently in progress and they hope to work with tribal leaders to do more.
He finished his statement with, “For too long, the struggles of Native Americans have been ignored, unnoticed and unresolved. As a team, we have honored them through our words and on the field, but now we will honor them through our actions. We commit to the tribes that we stand together with you, to help you build a brighter future for your communities.”
Snyder’s proposal failed to impress Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota. She released a response to Snyder’s letter Tuesday, where she wrote, “Dan Snyder, the owner of the NFL’s Washington football team, released a letter last night which continued to ignore calls to change his team’s racist name while announcing a public relations gambit targeting Native Americans. … Dan Snyder wants to keep profiting from his team’s racist brand and use those profits to attempt to buy the silence of Native Americans with a foundation that is equal parts public relations scheme and tax deduction.”
“Dan Snyder should immediately change the racist name of his NFL team and then commit a portion of his profits to addressing the issues facing Native American communities across the country,” she added.
It seems that to some, changing the name is more important than actual action or funds.