Begay: Redskins owner's foundation 'a gimmick'


Notah Begay isn't a fan of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and a new foundation that he has created.

Begay, an on-course reporter and analyst for NBC and Golf Channel, established a foundation in 2005 to help prevent type 2 diabetes in Native American children through health and wellness programs. On Tuesday, Begay told USA Today that he believes Snyder's new Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation is "more of a gimmick" and was created mostly for public relations reasons.

"The Washington football team's front office has tried to make the issue about them and it's really not about them," Begay told USA Today. "It's about, unfortunately, the NFL and its owners and its corporate partners condoning use of that word. I don't think if a similar racially offensive word was used for the Hispanic, African American or Jewish communities that it would be tolerated. But because the American Indian people historically have not had much political leverage, or because we don't represent a great amount of buying power from a retail standpoint, we don't get the same level of treatment that everyone else in this country gets."

The Redskins donated $100,000 to a high school athletic field in the Washington suburbs on Tuesday. Afterward, Snyder spoke to reporters and mentioned a letter he wrote when he first announced the formation of the foundation last month.

"I wrote a letter to the fans and it speaks for itself," Snyder told reporters according to USA Today. "It tells you we did our homework, unlike a lot of people, and we understand the issues out there. We're not an issue. The real issues are real-life issues, real-life needs and it's time for people to focus on reality."

According to Snyder's letter, the mission of the Original Americans Foundation is to "provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities."

The National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation both have criticized Snyder too, with comments similar to those of Begay.