Al Michaels: Washington Redskins Name Change Talk Is 'Nuts'

Friday, 13 Jun 2014 05:42 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Longtime play-by-play announcer Al Michaels called the heated debate over the Washington Redskins' team name "nuts," and feels team owner Dan Snyder isn't likely to bow to public pressure.

"It seems to me as if he is going to hold on," Michaels told the "Jim Rome on Showtime" program this week, according to The Washington Post.

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"I mean all of a sudden — I mean, for 70-some-odd years this was a zero issue, and then it became an issue. I understand we live in this politically correct environment. It's crazier than ever; you know, senators want to weigh in on this, like there's nothing better to do in Congress. This becomes a big issue. I mean, I just think it's nuts. And I do know, I've talked to Snyder about it — not recently but when we were in Washington last year — and he basically said 'over my dead body.'"

The push to change the Redskins' name has raged for some time. Last month, 50 United States senators sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to act and argued that the name was a racist slur to Native Americans.

Team President Bruce Allen responded to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a few days later.

"Our use of 'Redskins' as the name of our football team for more than 80 years has always been respectful of and shown reverence toward the proud legacy and traditions of Native Americans," Allen wrote in a letter that was released by the team.

Allen's response cites research that "Redskins originated as a Native American expression of solidarity," and explained that the logo was designed by Native American leaders.

Native American organizations advocating for a change tried to keep the pressure on with a 60-second commercial that aired during Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. Titled "To Be Proud," the spot ran in seven major television markets: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Washington.

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