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Speculation Growing - Are "REDSKINS" Planning to Change Name? // Blogs Dropping Hints After Focus Groups and Survey

11.07.2013 - 14:08

One indication comes from the hiring of GOP spin master Frank Luntz who recently conducted focus group sessions with fans and others. Interestingly, especially for a professional who knows how important a single word or word change can be, many of the questions and ensuing discussions concerned the team's current name, and the growing objections to it.

Now it has been learned that, as a followup to the initial focus groups, a survey among the team's fans is being conducted, and again many of the questions involve the team's name.

If, as Snyder proclaimed, he will "NEVER" change the name, it seems pointless and even potentially dangerous (since the results could be subpoenaed for use against him in the trademark litigation) for him to be conducting focus groups and surveys over this very issue, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who has been a leader in fighting against the continued use of the name, especially on the air where it impacts young children.

Somebody should ask him why he is conducting surveys and focus groups about the team's name if he has no plans to ever change it, suggests Banzhaf.

Banzhaf suggests that additional legal and other actions against this allegedly racist word are being planned, especially since many experts have now publicly declared that "Redskins" is an "unequivocal racial slur," and warned that its deliberate, repeated and unnecessary use by broadcasters may no longer serve the "public interest, convenience, and necessity" as required by federal law.

In the meantime, here are a small sample of reports which are fueling the speculation that a name change is at least being considered.

FAN SURVEY INDICATES REDSKINS ARE CONSIDERING A NAME CHANGE ("If nothing else, the continued poking and prodding of public opinion regarding the offensive nature, or lack thereof, of the Redskins' name at least indicates Snyder isn't as dead set on keeping the name as he originally indicated http://www.bloguin.com/thisgivensunday/2013-articles/july/fan-survey-indicates-redskins-are-considering-a-name-change.html

IS DAN SNYDER SECRETLY MANEUVERING TO CHANGE REDSKINS NAME? ("Could Dan Snyder's 'We'll NEVER change the Redskins name' go the way of . . . Bush's 'Read my lips: No new taxes") http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/06/11/dan-snyder-secretly-maneuvering-change-redskins-name-149851

REDSKINS RECRUIT GOP SPIN DOC TO SHOP NEW NAME (Frank Luntz's "strategy group is holding a focus group which may determine whether the Washington Redskins should finally change their controversial name http://www.newser.com/story/169397/redskins-recruit-gop-spin-doc-to-shop-new-name.html

TOP REPUBLICAN MESSAGING FIRM TO HOLD FOOTBALL FOCUS GROUP ABOUT WHETHER REDSKINS SHOULD CHANGE NAME ("Five questions in the [Luntz] survey ask directly about the Redskins. . . . for a team that has spent much of the offseason surrounded by controversy about its name, such [Luntz's] expertise could be useful http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2013/06/11/2129671/frank-luntz-redskins/

Since a recent survey shows that most fans now agree that the name is offensive, the time may be ripe for Snyder to make a change while he can make it look voluntary, and not simply a capitation to pressure, suggests Banzhaf.

Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418
http://banzhaf.net/ @profbanzhaf