by Fitzgerald Cecilio
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder wrote season-ticket holders justifying the continued use of the franchise's controversial nickname.
There was a surge of interest in changing the team's nickname, with US President Barack Obama saying that if he were the owner, he would consider changing it.
But Snyder insists that he treated the name as a badge of honor and never a label.
"It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect -- the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans," wrote Snyder.
Snyder emphasized that the first Boston Redskins had four players plus the coach who were Native Americans.
He noted that in 1971, the Red Cloud Athletic Fund, located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, helped design the emblem on the Redskins' helmets, changing it from the "R" design to the current American Indian head.
Snyder also mentioned his link to the team, going to games at RFK Stadium as a 6-year-old and seeing his father smile when singing the team's fight song, "Hail to the Redskins."
"I think of the Washington Redskins traditions and pride I want to share with my three children, just as my father shared with me -- and just as you have shared with your family and friends," Snyder wrote.
He also emphasized that the Annenberg Public Policy Center had polled nearly 1,000 self-identified Native Americans from across the continental U.S. with 90 percent not finding the team name to be "offensive." He added that in a 2013 Associated Press survey the name got 79 percent support from respondents with only 11 percent wanting it changed.
But the Oneida Indian Nation said Snyder continues to miss their point, saying the "racial slur" has very serious cultural, political, and public health consequences to Native Americans.