In a stunning statement Friday, the Washington Redskins announced they would be conducting a "thorough review" of the organization's name in a move that will likely result in the team dropping the name Redskins, a name many consider a racist slur.
Here is a brief and select history of his recent comments on the matter:
"We'll never change the name," he said. "It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."
In a letter to Redskins season ticket holders defending the name.
"That's why I wanted to reach out to you — our fans — about a topic I wish to address directly: the team name, 'Washington Redskins.' … It is important you hear straight from me on this issue. As the owner of the Redskins and a lifelong fan of the team, here is what I believe … and why I believe it."
"I want them to know that I do hear them, and I will continue to listen and learn. But we cannot ignore our 81 year history, or the strong feelings of most of our fans as well as Native Americans throughout the country. After 81 years, the team name 'Redskins' continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in years to come."
When asked by ESPN, what is a Redskins?
“It’s what the name actually means,” Snyder said. “I would like people to know the history. Whether it’s Lone Star Dietz, whether it’s Walter ‘Blackie’ Wetzel in Montana, it’s just historical truths. And I’d like them to understand — as I think most do — that the name really means honor, respect.
“We sing ‘Hail to the Redskins.’ We don’t say hurt anybody,” Snyder went on. “We sing ‘Hail to the Redskins, braves on the warpath, fight for old D.C.’ We only sing it when we score touchdowns. That’s the problem, because last season we didn’t sing it quite enough, as we would have liked to.”
“The Washington Redskins team, our fans and community have always believed our name represents honor, respect and pride,” he said in a statement. “Today’s Washington Post polling shows Native Americans agree. We are gratified by this overwhelming support from the Native American community, and the team will proudly carry the Redskins name."
After the Supreme Court ruled that federal trademark registrations may be granted even if the name is considered derogatory, Snyder celebrated the decision.
“I am THRILLED!” Snyder said, via an email from the team's PR department. “Hail to the Redskins.”
Native American groups, like the National Congress of American Indians, have long opposed the name and lobbied for its removal.
The NCAI has said, "despite the team’s arguments to the contrary, the R-word is not a term of honor or respect, but rather, a term that still connotes racism and genocide for Native peoples and for all others who know of this history and recognize that it is wrong to characterize people by the color of their skin."
"The use of the R-word as the name and mascot of the Washington National Football League team is offensive and hurtful to American Indian and Alaska Native people and causes direct, harmful effects on the physical and mental health and academic achievement of the American Indian and Alaska Native populations, particularly youth," according to the NCAI.
NCAI President Fawn Sharp said the change is a long time coming.
“Our nation faces a day of reckoning – we can choose to perpetuate racial inequality and the marginalization of peoples of color, or we can choose to pursue a new path towards a just, righteous, and inclusive society," Sharp said this week. "Removing racist and harmful words, symbols, and imagery like the Washington team’s R-word mascot is a necessary and non-negotiable first step in taking that path.”
After the team announced the decision to conduct a review, Sharp said in a statement, "NCAI looks forward to immediately commencing discussions with the league and team about how they will change the team’s name and mascot, and a prompt timetable for doing so. Indian Country deserves nothing less. The time to change is now.”