Poll: Most Americans Think Redskins Should Keep Name

Image: Poll: Most Americans Think Redskins Should Keep Name (TJ Root/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 09:09 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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A majority of Americans believe that the Washington Redskins football team should keep its controversial name, a new poll shows.

The survey, conducted by Langer Research for ESPN’s "Outside the Lines," found that 71 percent of Americans are in favor of the NFL franchise retaining its name. But that’s down 18 points from the 89 percent who wanted to keep it in 1992.

The poll showed that only 23 percent of the people surveyed think the moniker should be changed despite the outcry over claims that it’s racially offensive to Native Americans.

However, the number of people who want a name change has risen from 8 percent in 1982, and it’s up 9 points in the past year alone.

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The research also revealed that 68 percent of respondents think the nickname is not demeaning of Native Americans, compared to just 9 percent who say it is "a lot" disrespectful. Nineteen percent said it shows "some" disrespect.

The poll of 1,019 Americans, conducted Aug. 20-24, showed that there was a distinct division on the name when it came to the respondents’ political leanings.

Nearly 90 percent of Republicans say the team should keep its name, compared to just 58 percent for Democrats, reported ESPN, while noting that 83 percent of Republicans see no disrespect in the Redskins name, as opposed to 57 percent of Democrats.

"Back in 1992, when about 9 in 10 Americans opposed changing the team's name, opinion was basically uniform across groups," said Langer Research. "The increase since then … has occurred chiefly among Democrats, younger adults, those living in the Northeast and West, and people with higher incomes and more education."

Last year, 10 members of Congress sent letters to Redskins owner Dan Snyder, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Redskins sponsor FedEx, and the other 31 NFL franchises, calling on the Washington team to change its name.

The Native American Oneida tribe in upstate New York has also demanded that Goodell "stand up to bigotry" by denouncing "the racial slur" in the Washington Redskins name.

Although 50 Democratic U.S. senators sent a letter to Goodell calling for the change in May, Snyder has vowed that he will not give the team a new moniker.

Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have urged Goodell to change the name, according to ESPN, and President Barack Obama said that if he owned the team, he’d "think about" changing the name.

Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, where the team plays at FedEx Field in Landover, said on Facebook that it’s "probably time" for a new name.

In June, the Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team's trademarks because the name is "disparaging to Native Americans." The team has appealed the ruling and expects it to be overturned, ESPN said.

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