News & Politics

Here’s How Dan Snyder Should Change the Redskins’ Team Name

The team's owner hasn't caved yet, but here are four scripts for how he might.

Photograph of Snyder courtesy of the Washington Redskins.

Dan Snyder’s stated time frame for renaming his team is “never,” but insiders reckon he has five to ten years. We asked some leading communications strategists how the beleaguered owner should cry uncle.

Bruce Haynes
President, Purple Strategies political consultants

The strategy: “Crafting the narrative will be the challenge. He’d advantage himself greatly by explaining from his heart why it was time. It’s an opportunity for people to see a side of him they don’t often get to see. Have a story to tell so people can be proud of you.”

The speech: “ ‘Hey, I’ve worn my heart on my sleeve on this issue. The reason we came around is the same reason we dug in: to honor the tradition of Native Americans and this franchise.’ ”

Tom Lindenfeld
Founder, LSG Strategies

The strategy: “Admit and pivot. The longer Snyder looks like he’s being dragged to reality, the more animosity he will engender and the harder it’ll be to be viewed as genuine. And if there was ever a time to consider moving from the farmland they’re on to DC . . . .”

The speech: “ ‘This is far more important than nicknames. This team and its history and fans will grow and be that much better off for doing this.’ ”

Juleanna Glover
Managing director, Teneo Intelligence

The strategy: “The motto would be ‘Expect it when you least expect it.’ Make the announcement when the smallest number of people are talking about a name change and the team is doing well. Ideally, he does it with no leaks. He makes the announcement that in an hour and a half he’s going to be meeting with press in some centrally located area, and he limits the amount of speculation. It’s a clean shot.”

The speech: Let others do the talking.

Bob Bennett
Partner, Hogan Lovells

The strategy: “I’d have the schoolkids in the District pick the name, put a human touch on it. Get a surrogate to write an op-ed headed ‘Dan Snyder Took the High Road.’ Give a press conference and articulate the decision as the high road.”

The speech: “ ‘I’m sorry there are those who are offended, and I don’t agree, but too much time and money has been wasted on this. So let’s just move on. The most important thing is not what we’re called; it’s what we do on the field.’ ”

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed. This article appears in the September 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.