The Washington Redskins have long maintained that their name symbolizes pride, courage, tradition and a warrior spirit. Opponents of the name have long maintained that it's as racist as you can get, a hypocritical anachronism in a league that's considering penalties for the use of the n-word.
The NFL has long maintained that the team should preserve its name, though the league's support has run the gamut from staunch to wavering. However, as ThinkProgress revealed on Tuesday, members of the NFL and the Redskins met with opposition groups and a U.S. senator in a secret December 2013 meeting.
Present at the meeting, according to ThinkProgress' sources, were NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, and Allen's brother George, former Virginia governor and senator who is now a paid team consultant. Also at the meeting: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and the leaders of several prominent Native American advocacy organizations.
Granted, there are as many perspectives of a given meeting as there are individuals present at that meeting, but according to ThinkProgress' sources, the NFL and the team came in defensive (a marked change from the team's abilities on the field in 2013) and did not appear to take the opponents' concerns as seriously as those opponents would have liked.
The name change was a persistent issue for the Redskins all season, despite team owner Daniel Snyder's insistence that the team would "NEVER" change the name. Protestors dogged the team all season, and even some present and former members of the team hinted that a name change wouldn't bring about the apocalypse. President Obama even weighed in on the issue, saying he'd "think about" changing the name if he owned the team.
Goodell has continued to defend the team's use of the name, even as Cantwell and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) hinted that Congress could strip the NFL of its prized antitrust status if it allows the name to stand. Both opponents and supporters of the name have flooded the email inboxes of fans and media with position statements, and neither shows any sign of weakening in its resolve. So we've got this to look forward to for the forseeable future.