Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder says he hopes those offended by the team's nickname will "try to respect what the name means" to the team, its fans and some Native Americans.
Snyder addressed the matter Wednesday in a letter to season-ticket holders. He cites polls and anecdotal evidence that indicate support for the name from American Indians.
Snyder says he respects the opinions of those want the name changed, but he says the team can't ignore its history.
Says Snyder: "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."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org