The Washington Redskins want you to know that, despite objections from Native American groups, prominent NFL players, a former secretary of state and U.S. attorney general, and pretty much everyone except team owner Dan Snyder, the team’s name isn’t offensive at all and you should just lay off us, OK??
The backdrop for Redskins coach Jay Gruden’s press conference Wednesday flashed between a series of sponsored logos, one of which was for redskinsfacts.com, a website dedicated to making sure Synder makes as much money on merchandising as he possibly can.
Visitors to Redskins facts are immediately shown the words “Honor. Unity. Respect.’’ Clicking on the headline “What the Redskins name means to me’’ takes you to a series of articles in support of the name. One story describes how a Washington state schoolboard voted to keep the name Wellpinit Redskins (see, precedent!)
Another headline: “Wayne Newton Says the Washington Redskins Should Keep Their Name.’’ Newton is a “Full-blooded Native American entertainer’’ (their words, not mine), so I guess that settles it then.
There’s also a page on the site, with a photo at the top of Snyder standing with a fan, where fans can express their support for the name. “If you believe that the Redskins’ name, logo and history are worth preserving and celebrating, you’re not alone.’’
According to Slate, this grassroots pro-Redskins website is actually run by a major PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, which specializes in crisis management services. The firm has done work for the manufacturer of the Three Mile Island plant and for Johnson & Johnson, following Tylenol poisonings in the 1980s.