City Desk

Yes, Dan Snyder’s Latest Maneuver Is a Shameless PR Stunt. But Why Not Let Him Give Away Some Money?

Tomorrow, the Washington Pigskins will announce that they're forming a new organization called the Original Americans Foundation. In a letter to fans, team owner Dan Snyder says he's realized, in the course of his PR-driven visits to friendly Native American tribes around the nation, that things have not been going so well for most Native Americans, mostly because it was U.S. government policy to exterminate them for decades. (That's a paraphrase.) So the team is going to try to "provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities" through the foundation, he writes.

"I’ve listened. I’ve learned," Snyder writes. "And frankly, its heart wrenching. It’s not enough to celebrate the values and heritage of Native Americans. We must do more." "Celebrate the values and heritage of Native Americans," of course, is what Snyder says is best accomplished by continuing to call his extremely lucrative National Football League franchise by a name that dictionaries define as "usually offensive."

Let's stipulate a few things. One, Dan Snyder is not Washington City Paper's favorite billionaire. Two, his team's name is racist and needs to be changed. Three, it's entirely possible this obvious PR ploy will turn out to be complete bullshit; the letter from Snyder (printed below) doesn't specify how much money he's putting into the effort, nor does it even say whether the Original Americans Foundation will be an actual nonprofit venture. Four, it's probably Lanny Davis' idea. Five, this is some condescending nonsense that only underscores how obnoxious Snyder's position is:

For too long, the struggles of Native Americans have been ignored, unnoticed and unresolved. As a team, we have honored them through our words and on the field, but now we will honor them through our actions. We commit to the tribes that we stand together with you, to help you build a brighter future for your communities.

The new foundation, Snyder claims, is working on "over forty" projects besides the handful it's already finished, like giving coats and shoes to some tribes or helping the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska buy a backhoe. Could the Pigskins, or Snyder personally, have easily donated the full cost of a backhoe many times over without noticing it? Yes. Is the whole effort a transparent ploy to defend against criticism of the name? Certainly. But why shouldn't Snyder give some money to people while he's being obstinate? Ultimately, even if Snyder's foundation buys him some more time using the racist name before he finally realizes he could cash in on sales of merchandise with a new brand, at least 3,000 people had winter coats this year that he paid for.

Read Snyder's smug, defensive letter to fans below:

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • Johnny Walker Red

    Mike Madden might as well hang up any pretense as to being considered a legitimate professional journalist. He is sophomoric, bland, and just comes across as if he were some fat bucket of lard blabbing away in a barber shop about football while everyone else is blocking him out.

    Mike Madden needs to enroll with an online university and pursue something at which he might achieve, such as sucking farts out of bus seats. The "Pigskins" is one of the most idiotic epic FAILS ever at attempting satire. As long as City Paper prints such offensively dull crud, it will always be known as nothing more than a throwaway rag for reading on the Metro or maybe the shitter.

  • Barno

    This is the first and likely last column I'll ever read in the Washington City Paper. It's sad how ignorance passes for journalism at this joke of a paper, even for the pathetic tabloid fishwrap that it is.

    "things have not been going so well for most Native Americans, mostly because it was U.S. government policy to exterminate them for decades. (That's a paraphrase.)"

    A real newspaper would fire the idiot who wrote that.

  • Janine LadyofRedskins Vandenberg

    Thank you Dan Snyder, Washington Redskins personnel, Washington Redskins players, Redskins nation family! I as a full blooded Native American from the Tsimshian Nation want to say Thank you and we are so sorry for the half educated people who have chosen to drag the wonderful name Redskins through the dirt! HAIL TO THE REDSKINS forever!!! Thank you for NOT deleting us from history!!!!!

  • Kevin

    Screw $nyder. I'm a lifelong fan of the team but the man disgusts me and the name must be changed (and it certainly will be -- as soon as the matter starts costing him money).

    This article is 100% on the mark. Mindless fans will howl but I applaud the City Paper.

  • Kevin

    Barno, you're a Snyder apologist liar. You have commented before on City Paper (anti-Snyder) stories, and you will again (unfortunately for us).

    I blocked you long ago on WaPo. You're tiresome and predictable.

  • Typical DC BS

    LOL at the guy with his panties in a bunch over the name "Redskins". Try to get outraged over real tragedies.

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  • Corky

    I bet this idiot gave them Redskins jackets with the severed Indian Head logo on it--to make up for calling them Native American equivalent of the N-word. Gee thanks, for giving us a coat with an executed Indian on it as a measure of your kindness. Could you imagine ex-Nazis paying reparations to Holocaust victims apparel with swatikas?

  • erik

    i hope they checked the coats for small pox. wouldn't surprise me if snyder sold a cure too.

  • Pop M

    Amateur attempt to improve his and the team's image. As inept in execution as the 2013 Team's pass defense secondary.
    The fans should get together and buy a present for D. Snyder to let him know how we actually feel about him. The good news is that it would be a round the world air ticket (get him OUT of here). The not-so-good news? Malasian Air....

  • San Dnyder

    I love how desperate this shows Snyder to be.

  • noodlez

    MAD MIKE YOU MY MANZ BUT YOU OFF BASE WITH THIS ONE.

    THE TEAM NAME IS NOT RACIST BECAUSE A FEW WHITE FOLKS SAID IT IS. SOME NATIVE AMERICANS DO NOT WANT THE TEAM TO CHANGE ITS NAME NOR DO THEY CARE ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

    THIS WAS ALWAYS ABOUT MONEY! THE TEAM SHOULD RETAIN ITS CURRENT NAME TO CONSTANTLY REMIND US THERE ARE A GROUP OF AMERICANS THAT ARE BEING NEGLECTED AND LEFT BEHIND.

    IM GLAD DANNY BOY IS DOING SOMETHING TO HELP THOSE THAT DESPERATELY NEEDS IT.

    HTTR.

  • two horse race

    dan snyder has a big heart, and it's in the right place, right up his flabby stupid ass topped with his starched stuffed white button down buttoned up shirt.

    what a washington monumental ego..

    there, i said it. and i'm not taking it back.

  • macheko

    I'm glad Dan Snyder is educating himself about the issues of Native Americans and says he his committed to helping them. I hope he follows through. Dismissing his efforts and focusing on the team name in such a knee-jerk, immature and superficial way is counter productive. He has a financial interest in looking concerned, but if he actually does something good, and maybe learns something, why not. I'm tired of the articles by non-Native American's freaking out about the name Redskins. Is this really the top concern of Native Americans? Negro is now no longer commonly acceptable, but is retained by African American organizations in recognition of history (Negro College Fund), I don't think we need to suppress all Native American symbols (remember the fighting Illini) to satisfy political correctness.

  • Bac

    Johnnie Walker Red, I could not agree with you more.

    There's something so - as you say - sophmorically incendiary about CityPaper's writing most of the time. They are so full of attitude. There's nothing inside, though.

    This is the sentence in the 'article' that truly got to me:
    "mostly because it was U.S. government policy to exterminate them for decades. (That's a paraphrase.)"

    Their glib superficiality undermines their supposed concern for others.

    They manage to alienate even the most devoted Daniel Snyder haters. Good job CP!

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