RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said Thursday the team isn’t considering a new nickname, adding that it’s “ludicrous” to suggest that the franchise is trying to upset Native Americans.
“There’s nothing that we feel is offensive,” Allen said. “And we’re proud of our history.”
Opposition to “Redskins” has gained momentum following last week’s symposium at the Smithsonian that was heavily critical of the use of the word, citing its history as an offensive term. Local columnists and commentators have called for the team to change its name in recent days.
The Redskins have responded with website postings featuring interviews with officials from the 70 high schools they say still called themselves “Redskins.”
Speaking at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the team’s new training camp facility, Allen also told reporters that Robert Griffin III was “progressing well” in rehabilitation from knee reconstruction surgery, but that the team doctors will ultimately decide whether the franchise quarterback will be ready in time for the start of the season.
Allen said the Redskins are still fighting the $36 million salary cap penalty levied by the league last year for excessive spending during the uncapped 2010 season. The first $18 million was docked last year, with the other $18 million hit coming when free agency starts next month.
“I think the penalty was wrong and it was unfair,” Allen said. “There are plenty of things we can do.”
He declined to go into specifics.
Allen also said the team is coming up with a plan to improve the Redskins’ stadium field, which was torn up by the end of the season and prompted criticism from opposing players. He said the team missed an opportunity to re-sod during the season and would plan differently this year.
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