Roger Goodell says ‘Nine of 10 Native Americans support the Redskins’ name’
NEW YORK — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell backed the Washington Redskins’ moniker Friday, stating that nine out of 10 Native Americans support the name.
That remark came during Goodell’s annual press conference on the Friday of Super Bowl week. Goodell actually was asked rather contentiously if he “would call a [Native American] a Redskin to his face?” The commissioner mostly sidestepped that question, instead offering up the reasoning behind not forcing Washington owner Daniel Snyder to change his team’s name.
“This is the name of a football team … [and it has been] presented in a way that honors Native Americans,” Goodell said.
In June, Goodell also argued for Snyder’s right to keep the Redskins name in a letter sent to 10 members of Congress, who had called on the commissioner to step in.
“The Washington Redskins name has … from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context,” Goodell wrote. “For the team’s million of fans and customers, who represent one of America’s most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”
Goodell added in that letter that “the Washington Redskins name has been confirmed in a legal context.”
The commissioner touched on a number of pressing topics during his press conference Friday, including a callback to comments he recently made concerning the possible use of medicinal marijuana to assist injured NFL players. As he did initially, Goodell stated that there has not been near enough evidence to support a change to the NFL’s drug policy.
“We are not actively considering that at this point and time,” he said. “But if it does down the road some time, that’s something we would never take off the table if we could benefit our players at the end of the day. … I don’t see any change in the near future.”
Goodell was asked if he would be willing to subject himself to random drug tests, as the players are.
“I am randomly tested [for marijuana],” he responded, “and I am happy to say that I am clean.”
Another topic touched on during the presser: the possibility that another cold-weather city could host a future Super Bowl. This year’s game, to be held in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, appears that it may dodge earlier forecasts of nasty wintry weather — current predictions call for high temperatures near 50 on Sunday, with little if any precipitation.
Goodell maintained that more than just the weather’s impact on Super Bowl XLVIII will determine if franchises like Philadelphia, Washington or Chicago would host the league’s title game down the road.
“We know there’s interest in other communities hosting the Super Bowl,” he said, though he tempered any enthusiasm by again mentioning the massive infrastructure requirements (including upwards of 30K available hotels) to put on such an event.