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Dan Snyder defends Redskins name in letter to fans

Amid mounting controversy, is Daniel Snyder ready to change the nickname of the Washington Redskins?

Don't count on it. Snyder continues to stand by the nickname, but the owner took a new, softer approach to the hot-button topic in a letter sent this week to Redskins season-ticket holders.

In the letter, Snyder reminisces about attending his first Redskins game with his father. He also provides historical context to the Redskins name and provides statistical data that show a large majority of fans -- including Native Americans -- don't want a name change.

"Our franchise has a great history, tradition and legacy representing our proud alumni and literally tens of millions of loyal fans worldwide," Snyder wrote in a copy of the letter obtained by The Washington Post. "We have participated in some of the greatest games in NFL history, and have won five World Championships.

"We are proud of our team and the passion of our loyal fans. Our fans sing 'Hail to the Redskins' in celebration at every Redskins game. They speak proudly of 'Redskins Nation' in honor of a sports team they love.

"I respect the opinions of those who disagree. I want them to know that I do hear them, and I will continue to listen and learn," Snyder added. "But we cannot ignore our 81-year history, or the strong feelings of most of our fans as well as Native Americans throughout the country. After 81 years, the team name 'Redskins' continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come.

"We are Redskins Nation and we owe it to our fans and coaches and players, past and present, to preserve that heritage."

Snyder signed the letter "With respect and admiration." It's certainly a much different tact than the owner has taken in the past. In May, he told USA Today the Redskins wouldn't change the name, saying "never ... you can use all caps."

Snyder's gentler approach is wise, but it won't make the controversy go away. It's likely to stick with him as long as he owns the team.

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