|ESPN.com: NFL||[Print without images]|
ARLINGTON, Texas -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged Sunday night the importance of the league listening to those who feel strongly about changing the Washington Redskins' nickname.
Goodell conducted a fan forum for 45 minutes with a group of Dallas Cowboys season-ticket holders prior to the start of the team's game against the Redskins.
Goodell was asked about the Redskins name halfway through the interaction with the fans by a Washington fan who doesn't want the name to change. While the fan forum was going on, less than a dozen protesters gathered northeast of AT&T Stadium to voice their disapproval.
Goodell, who grew up in Washington D.C., as a Redskins fans, said he understands the traditions of the franchise as much as anybody.
"I know the fans felt deeply about it," Goodell said. "I saw it and felt it myself. We also have to be sensitive enough to at least listen and see what it is we can do if we're insulting any element of our fan base and or not our fan base for that matter. We need to see what we can do. We need to listen, we need to engage and try to understand what it is."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is aware of the various sides of the debate.
"Dan's a personal friend of mine and he's not insensitive at all," Jones said Sunday night. "He's very sensitive. And he's weighing the very things that you've just talked about right here. He's weighing the enormous sentiment toward the tradition and the point that says, 'You know that's the reason we have them because we think so much of our team.'
"In a way, it's a badge of honor. We know there's some that feel different. It would be a real mistake, a real mistake to think that Dan, who is Jewish, in any way has a lack of sensitivity regarding someone's feelings."
Todd Wills is a regular contributor to ESPNDallas.com.