Riggins feels 'completely disenfranchised' by Commanders' rebrand


During the 90-year history of Washington's NFL franchise, few players have meant more or accomplished more with the organization than John Riggins. The Hall-of-Fame running back was part of the then-Redskins' first Super Bowl title in 1982 -- a game where he was named Super Bowl MVP.

Yet, Riggins was noticeably absent for the franchise's official rebrand as the Commanders at FedEx Field on Feb. 2. That was by design, too, as Riggins is not a fan of the decision to rebrand whatsoever.

"I feel completely disenfranchised," Riggins said on his own podcast earlier this week.

"I can't understand how anybody who played under the old franchise name, the original franchise name, could want to be a part of anything Washington Commanders," Riggins said. "Like I said, I feel completely disenfranchised. All of a sudden, you've entered oblivion."

Fortunately for Washington, several of the team's other prominent alumni -- Doug Williams, Joe Theismann, Mark Moseley and Dexter Manley, among others -- were present for the rebrand and have largely been supportive of the decision to move on from the old name. Williams, who currently works for the team, was the one to officially announce on The TODAY Show that the new name is Commanders.

Although Riggins voiced his opinion on the name change, the former All-Pro running back didn't knock his fellow Washington alumni for being supportive of the organization.

"Everybody is going to make their own decision, and that's cool. The guys that showed up last week that were out there -- Dexter [Manley], Joe Theismann, Mark Moseley, Doc Walker -- for you guys, it's a different point of view because it's like a different culture," Riggins said.


However, Riggins did then ponder why some of his former teammates and fellow Burgundy and Gold alumni do not see the franchise's rebrand in the same way he does.

"I kind of look at them and go 'What's wrong with you? Don't you get it? You were invited to your own funeral,'" Riggins said. "But not everybody looks at it that way."

Once the franchise's rebrand officially launched, Washington began to sell former players' jerseys under the new Commanders branding. Fans were initially able to purchase a Riggins Commanders jersey, but it has since been removed from the team's online shop.

Although Riggins has publicly voiced his opinion against the rebrand, the team understands he's hardly the only one who feels that way. The hope is that over time, people like Riggins will eventually come around to the new name because Washington's moniker won't be changing again.