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September 22, 2013

Time for Snyder to eliminate 'Redskins' from Washington

(Continued)

Say what you will about the long-standing tradition of the Washington franchise, one of the NFL’s flagship organizations steeped in history. But if the nickname is offensive to Native Americans -- and they have every right to be insulted because of the negative connotations the word produces -- Snyder must do the right thing and remove it. Even though Snyder himself doesn’t consider it offensive -- he has said he will never, under any circumstances, make a change -- there are people who are hurt by it. And if people are offended by the nickname, then it is by definition offensive. As would be the case with any ethnic or religious group feeling hurt by a comparable slur.

Think of any nationality, any religion, any race. Irish. Italian. Polish. African-American. Asian. Hispanic. Jewish. Catholic. Muslim. For each, there are hurtful and hateful words associated with them. For Native Americans, “Redskins” is that word. The highest officer in the game of football now understands, and that’s why Goodell’s change of heart should be mirrored by the only man who is in a position to make a change.

Snyder no longer can ignore the outrage. He should do what former Washington Bullets owner Abe Pollin did in 1996, when he changed the nickname of the team to the Wizards because of the negative connotations associated with the term “bullets,” especially in a city with a high murder rate. It was a bold, yet sensible and sensitive, move by a respected owner who couldn’t justify the continuation of a nickname that simply wasn’t necessary.

Now it’s time for Snyder to do the decent thing and make the change.

Contact Bob Glauber at bob.glauber@newsday.com.

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