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Washington Redskins unlikely to change name, Roger Goodell says

Fans look on during a game between the

Fans look on during a game between the Redskins and Cardinals at FedEx Field on Dec. 17, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. Credit: Getty Images / Rob Carr

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Tuesday morning that he does not believe owner Dan Snyder will change the name of the Washington Redskins, a day after Major League Baseball announced that the Cleveland Indians will stop using the Chief Wahoo logo on its uniforms and caps after the 2018 season.

Goodell, appearing on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” radio show, cited a 2016 Washington Post poll that revealed nine in 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name. The poll included 504 Native Americans from every state and the District of Columbia.

“Dan Snyder has really worked in the Native American community to understand better their perspective, and I think it’s reflected mostly in a Washington Post poll that came out in 2016 that said over nine out of 10 Native Americans do not take that in a negative fashion, the Redskins’ logo or the Redskins’ name, and they support it,” Goodell said.

The Supreme Court last year issued a unanimous decision extending trademark protection to words and names that may be deemed offensive. The Supreme Court cited the free speech clause in the First Amendment in the ruling. The Washington Redskins had been in danger of losing their trademark status since June 2014, when the United State Patent and Trademark office canceled the team’s trademark registration.

“The focus that we’ve had is in any way is this insulting to the Native Americans and I think that poll is overwhelmingly positive that they don’t, and I think the Redskins have done a tremendous amount of work here and I think Dan continues to believe in the name and I don’t see him changing that perspective,” Goodell said.

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