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Furor over Redskins name gains strength

J.J. Smith, an Ojibwa from Silver Spring, Md., is escorted out by security at the NFL’s fall meetings on Tuesday as he tries to present a flier to the media that was critical of the long-used nickname “Redskins”.carolyn kaster/associated press

WASHINGTON — Asked directly whether the Washington Redskins should change their name, Roger Goodell said the NFL needs to ‘‘make sure we’re doing what’s right.’’

Speaking at the conclusion of the league’s fall meetings Tuesday, the NFL commissioner noted that he grew up in the Washington area rooting for the city’s football team and ‘‘by no means . . . have I ever considered it derogatory as a fan, and I think that’s how Redskins fans would look at it.’’

The topic was not part of the formal agenda for the meetings and yet it was the subject of four of the first five questions posed at his news conference at a Washington hotel.

‘‘Whenever you have a situation like this, you have to listen and recognize that some other people may have different perspectives, and clearly there are cases where that’s true here,’’ Goodell said. ‘‘And that’s what I've suggested and I've been open about — that we need to listen, carefully listen, and make sure we’re doing what’s right.’’

Asked whether Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who has vowed that he’ll never change the club’s name, has been listening, Goodell said: ‘‘I am confident that the Redskins are listening and I’m confident that they’re sensitive to their fans — to the views of people that are not only their fans but are not their fans.’’

President Obama said last week that he would ‘‘think about changing’’ the name if he were the team’s owner.

‘‘When the President speaks, it’s going to raise attention to any issue,’’ Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday, ‘‘but really I, at this point, don’t really have anything, any comment, on it right now.’’

The NFL has said it will meet with an Indian tribe pushing for the Redskins to drop the nickname, although Goodell said he did not know if he or Snyder would attend.

That group, the Oneida Indian Nation, held a symposium on the topic in Washington on Monday, timed to coincide with the league meetings.

After Goodell’s news conference Tuesday, a spokesman for the Oneida Indian Nation, Joel Barkin, issued a statement that read, in part: ‘‘The fact is that the league will not truly be listening to critics of this racial slur unless its commissioner gets personally involved.’’

Among the league business handled during the sessions:

 New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis were named the three finalists to host the NFL championship game in 2018.

‘‘It proves that Indianapolis is really a unique city, being a medium-sized market in a colder market, without 80 degrees and beaches,’’ Irsay said.

New Orleans has hosted 10 Super Bowls, including last February’s game that was interrupted by a blackout.

The 2018 Super Bowl will be awarded next May. The next four Super Bowls will be in New Jersey, Arizona, Santa Clara, Calif., and Houston.

 The NFL will play three regular-season games at London’s Wembley Stadium next year, hosted by the Jaguars, Falcons and Raiders. It will be the most games the league has played abroad in one year.

 The NFL approved a measure that allows the league to choose which team will be the focus of HBO’s ‘‘Hard Knocks’’ if no club volunteers. Exempt would be teams with new coaches, clubs that reached the playoffs in one of the previous two seasons, or those that appeared on ‘‘Hard Knocks’’ within the preceding 10 years.