Former Washington Redskins great Brian Mitchell was one of the first former team members to comment on the pressure the franchise is under to change its name.
Mitchell told Sky Sports on Thursday that it seems “inevitable” that the franchise is going to make the change in the wake of corporate pressure from FedEx and Nike.
“But right now, this thing seems to be snowballing, and it’s going to be something that you really, really have to think about,” Mitchell said. “When you look at a lot of different things that are happening and transpired, right now, it seems to be the most fresh I’ve ever seen.
“And every time that it happens again, it gets to be more, and more, and more,” he continued. “Eventually, you look at the amount of investors, and these people are speaking out trying to get it done, I don’t think many people in a business world can function if all of those people start pulling away.”
He added that if the name offends anyone, the team should change it.
“When I look at that word, I don’t understand how people sit there and try to come up with all of these polls that I keep hearing about. I don’t believe that the Indian population, the Native American population has been truly represented in those polls. So many of us, people of other cultures, other races try to speak for them. I think it’s time for them to speak for themselves. If that’s a problem, just like the N-word, when it comes down to me as an African-American. If 10 percent think it’s bad, then it’s bad.”
Redskins coach Ron Rivera played it safe when he was asked about the name earlier in the week.
“It’s all about the moment and the timing,” Rivera told 690 The Score. “But I’m just somebody that’s from a different era when football wasn’t such a big part of the political scene. That’s one of the tough things, too, is I’ve always wanted to keep that separate.”
He continued: “People have wanted me to get in politics while I’m coaching and I keep telling them, ‘It’s not for me to get up there and influence people.’ I have my beliefs, I know what I think, I support the movements, support the players. I believe in what they’re doing. There are certain elements t
Conversations about the Redskins team name have come up in the past.
Joe Theismann, a Hall of Fame quarterback, told TMZ Sports in 2018 that while it wasn’t his decision to change the name, the Native Americans he talked to didn’t appear to have a problem with it.
“I don’t own the Washington Redskins, and it’s really not my decision. [Team owner Daniel Snyder’s] gonna make whatever decision he feels is right,” he told the outlet.
“I’ve talked to a lot of Native Americans in this country, they seem to be OK with the name ‘the Redskins.’ So we try and honor them every day, and do the best we can to represent the nations that are out there.”
When Snyder and the organization faced pressure in 2013, Art Monk and Darrell Green spoke up.
“(If) Native Americans feel like Redskins or the Chiefs or (another) name is offensive to them, then who are we to say to them, ‘No, it’s not?’” Monk told WTOP-FM.
Green added: “It deserves and warrants conversation because somebody is saying, ‘Hey, this offends me.’”
It’s unclear whether the organization will succumb to public pressure, but the noise around the name has never been louder.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.