Copyright 2014 Gannett Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Mark Moseley, a former Washington NFL placekicker, told members of the Chippewa Cree Tribe in council chambers Tuesday that the club's team name is meant as a sign of respect for Native Americans.
"You are who we are when we play football," Moseley said. "Matter of fact, if they want to take Washington off, that's OK, but leave the Redskins part alone."
Moseley and two fellow former Washington players, tight end Chris Cooley and receiver Gary Clark, signed autographs and schmoozed with tribal leaders on behalf of the team's Original Americans Foundation, announced in March by team owner Daniel Snyder to provide resources for Native communities.
"Dan gets lambasted a lot in the press," Moseley said, "but he takes a lot of pride in that name."
The Chippewa Cree Tribe is getting a new burgundy-and-gold playground, complete with team logos, set to open this week. Its cost of roughly $200,000 was paid for by the foundation.
The former players visited the nearly completed playground on the Rocky Boy's Reservation, where they also held a football camp for youngsters and chatted on the tribe's radio station.
The former players were joined in council chambers by foundation director Gary Edwards and chief financial officer Karl Schreiber. The club's embattled team name was often the subtext of remarks.
Cooley said he was "extremely proud to be here for all of the right reasons. It's neat to hear people say, 'What do you want from us?' 'Nothing. We just want to help.'"
Clark said how pleased he was to "meet some people of the brand I played for." He said that even as a child "when playing cowboys and Indians, I always was the Indian. ... We appreciate what you stand for."
Edwards said the team name stands for pride, courage and intelligence, and he praised the ex-players for embodying those qualities, adding that a local basketball team showed the same qualities in winning a recent championship.
"You guys have done a very good job, a phenomenal job, with these young people," Moseley said. "I know you've been up against the wall for a long time."
Dusty Henderson, 7, sat in the audience wearing a gold Washington team cap with a burgundy bill and the team's feathered R logo. His grandfather, Richard Sangrey, the tribe's chief of staff, suggested that perhaps the ex-players might like to sign Dusty's cap. Schreiber produced a Sharpie, and the ex-players all autographed the cap while the boy grinned.
"Where's the rest of the team?" Sangrey joked.