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Brian Mitchell says it's 'inevitable' that the Redskins will have to change their team name

Brian Mitchell says it's 'inevitable' that the Redskins will have to change their team name

For decades, the Washington Redskins moniker has been a topic of controversy, and earlier this week, the debate over the name 'Redskins' became a national storyline once again. 

On Wednesday, a report surfaced that investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion have asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate their business relationships with the Washington Redskins unless the team agrees to change its name. Additionally, another report surfaced that the Redskins will not be permitted to use the old RFK Stadium site to build a new stadium unless the team changes its name.

In an interview with Richard Graves of Sky Sports News, former Redskins running back and current NBC Sports Washington analyst Brian Mitchell said that Washington changing its name is only a matter of time.

"Eventually, the way things seem to be rolling now, it's inevitable," Mitchell said.

Mitchell believes the push for the team to change the name has never been bigger than it is now.

"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. 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."

RELATED: TONY DUNGY WON'T SAY 'REDSKINS' ON AIR

The current movement for the team to change its name comes at a time of current civil unrest and the fight for social justice in America. Following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, protestors have marched across the country, demanding racial equality and social justice.

Mitchell said that if the name 'Redskins' is offensive to anyone, he believes the name should be changed.

"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," Mitchell said. "I don't believe that the Indian population, the Native American population has 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."

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Mitchell cited the recent example of how the SEC influenced the state of Mississippi to remove the confederate flag symbol from the state flag as a way to show how public pressure can enact change on something that's wrong in society.

"I look also where the SEC put pressure on the state of Mississippi to take the confederate flag off of the state flag," Mitchell said. "That's happening. So if all of those things that have historically been there are starting to happen, I believe that this is going to happen eventually."

Additionally, Mitchell believes there's a generational gap in the debate over the name 'Redskins,' citing an example of when former Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen publicly supported Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The manager's actions caused plenty of mixed reactions in Miami, a heavily-Cuban area.

"I liken it to when Ozzie Guillen was sitting there praising Fidel Castro and the younger Cuban people in Miami had no issue with it," Mitchell said. "The older people understood the plight and the fight. They had a problem and they acted upon that."

The franchise's leader in all-purpose yards said that he feels now would be a great time for the team to change the name, as the organization would have the opportunity to get out "ahead of it."

"I think this is the time you do it and get ahead of it," Mitchell said. "Don't make it seem like you were forced. Get ahead of it, and think about it like 'Listen, I've sat, I've thought, and I think it's time.'"

As for what he thinks will need to happen for Washington to ultimately change its name?

"I've always said from the beginning that it's going to take some people sitting down and having a serious conversation without having their mind already set. I think that's what's been going on over the years," Mitchell said. "It's getting to a point in this country and around the world where certain names and certain things are now becoming taboo. When we think back 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, there are words that people used that no longer can be used."

One final point Mitchell made was a counter-argument to the arguments from fans who are very adamant about keeping the name.

"The thing for me is this. I love the team," Mitchell said. "I know people go up there and say 'I love the team, it's all I've ever known.' But my question is, do you cheer for the actual name? Or do you cheer for the concept and the people? I think that's the whole thing about it. If you still have a name here that is going to represent this area, still have that same type of pride that you are representing, then you'll still go for that."

RELATED: RON RIVERA MAKES FIRST PUBLIC COMMENTS ABOUT TEAM NAME

Additionally, Mitchell stressed that fans own throwback jerseys and have plenty of memories that they can look back on and cherish. But, as Mitchell said, times change, and he believes there's a lot more to gain than lose by changing the name.

"When I look at the financial and lucrative gains that you could have if it were to happen, how can it really hurt?" he said.

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Dwayne Haskins believes he gives Washington best chance to win, even if Alex Smith can play

Dwayne Haskins believes he gives Washington best chance to win, even if Alex Smith can play

While many expect Dwayne Haskins to be Washington's quarterback in Week 1, head coach Ron Rivera has yet to formally name a starting quarterback and has preached "pure competition" between Haskins and Kyle Allen.

The battle for the job has the potential to take an interesting twist in the coming weeks if veteran Alex Smith is able to return from the active/PUP list. In a media session with local reporters on Monday, Rivera said Smith is "going to be in the throes of this competition" if he's able to return.

However, even if Smith is healthy enough to compete for the starting job, Haskins believes he's the best man for the job. 

"All respect for everyone in that room, but I feel like I give us the best opportunity," Haskins told Julie Donaldson, Washington's Senior VP of Media and Content. "I look forward to showing it."

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Haskins had his growing pains as a rookie but really started to show flashes of his potential towards the end of the season before an ankle injury prematurely ended his first season as a pro. Over his final six quarters, Haskins finished with 394 passing yards on a 72 percent completion rate with four touchdowns and zero turnovers. 

Since Rivera took over as head coach in January, he's challenged Haskins to take command of the job, and the quarterback has responded. Haskins has dropped close to 20 pounds this offseason and said he is in the best shape of his life. He's spent the bulk of his offseason training and learning from numerous NFL stars, most notably Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton and Odell Beckham Jr.

Although Rivera has yet to name Haskins the starter, he's taken notice of the 23-year-old's progress and has publicly praised him for it. In a media session last week, several comments the head coach made sounded as if he was ready to move in the direction with Haskins as QB1.

While Haskins and Smith may be directly competing with one another, the two have a strong relationship.

Haskins has said multiple times how much of a help Smith was to him as a rookie. On Monday, Haskins said he looks at Smith as a "mentor" to him.

"He's a great teammate," Haskins said. "Somebody in the meeting room that we look for answers and questions and everything he's been through in his long tenure as a professional quarterback in the NFL. He's someone I kind of look to as a mentor in that sense."

RELATED: MORGAN MOSES IS IMPRESSED WITH DWAYNE HASKINS 'KNOWING HE'S GOING TO BE NO. 1 QB'

Smith's journey is remarkable, and the fact that he's even close to playing after suffering the gruesome leg injury he had in November 2018 is already impressive enough within itself. And of the three quarterbacks, Smith is by far the most proven and experienced.

But Washington is currently in a rebuild, and Rivera has said multiple times that the 2020 season will be crucial in determining who he sees as core players on his roster. So, starting a 35-year-old Smith over Haskins, a second-year player who the team invested a first-round pick in just one year ago, wouldn't make much sense.

Yet, if Smith does end up being healthy enough to compete for the job, Haskins is ready to embrace the challenge.

"I'm extremely happy and excited for Alex. Having watched him train last year and him just getting into the position to try and play this year...I can tell how much work he's put in," Haskins said. "I'm excited for him. Hopefully he gets back to where he needs to be, and I look forward to competing with him and everything of that nature."

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Dan Snyder's attorney raises conspiracy questions with defamation suit

Dan Snyder's attorney raises conspiracy questions with defamation suit

Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder wants to clear the air about a series of slanderous rumors that his attorney believes were part of a wider campaign to spread misinformation and defame his character. 

"There's a lot of things going on in Washington right now regarding the club and there are people that may have some motives to falsely attack Mr. Snyder," attorney Joe Tacopina, who represents Snyder, said in an interview with NBC Sports Washington. 

The center of the issue comes from an article that ran on meaww.com - a website owned by India-based company Media Entertainment Arts WorldWide - alleging Snyder had personal involvement with financier Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who killed himself while in prison last year. 

"Dan Snyder has nothing to do with [Epstein] and had nothing to do with him," Tacopina said of the article. 

That article, shared repeatedly via social media, deeply bothered the Snyder family and now the owner wants to do everything in his power to clear his name. 

In the process, Tacopina alleges that a former employee was spreading the disinformation at the behest of a financial backer. Snyder is taking legal action against former Washington employee Mary Ellen Blair in an attempt to prove she intentionally spread lies and was told to do so by a third party. 

"We believe there are obviously people behind that had their own purposes for doing it," Tacopina said. The lawsuits aim to "to uncover who’s behind the scenes, who’s pulling the strings."

RELATED: DAN SNYDER FILES TWO DEFAMATION LAWSUITS

In a New York Times report, Blair is connected to Dwight Schar, one of the Washington minority owners looking to sell his shares in the team. The article contends that Blair dealt with financial hardships and lives in a building that Schar's daughter's real estate development company owns.

Asked if the misinformation and defamation lawsuits have anything to do with Washington's minority partners looking to sell 40 percent of the team, Tacopina would not speculate, but he did respond. 

"I think common sense will sort of play out. I think the evidence in this case will present us with who’s behind this," Tacopina said. 

Tacopina has an impressive and high-profile legal track record. He worked with Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill to end his decade-long legal saga and multiple jail visits. He also lists Alex Rodriguez and Jay-Z as clients. 

This looks to be just the beginning of a series of legal actions that could unclose a significant conspiracy against the Washington Football Team owner. Then again, it could be nothing. The legal process will play out.

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