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Redskins hired firm to defend name

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder hired a lobbying firm in May to defend and preserve the franchise’s controversial name.

With Senate majority leader Harry Reid leading push to persuade the team to change its name — 49 other senators supported a leader sent to the Redskins asking them to consider a different name — Snyder and management hired McGuireWoods Consulting according to a lobbying disclosure filed and classified as a general lobbying purpose. Reid and others echoed concerns raised by some Native American groups that Redskins is viewed as a “racial slur.”

“In his letter to the team Reid said exactly that. He NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” the letter raid.

According to the lobbying disclosure, the firm was hired to foster “discussions of team origins, history and traditions, Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and youth sports, activities of Original Americans’ Foundation.”

Team president Bruce Allen wrote his own response to Reid and President Barack Obama, who said he would “think about” changing the name because a “sizable group of people considers it” offensive.

“The Redskins respect everyone. But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks (from President Obama’s hometown), the fans love their team and its name and, like those fans, they do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group,” the letter, released by attorney Lanny Davis, read. “The name ‘Washington Redskins’ is 80 years old — its history and legacy and tradition. The Redskins’ fans sing ‘Hail to the Redskins’ every Sunday as an expression of honor, not disparagement.”