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Brian Mitchell says an open-minded convo is needed on Redskins' name: 'In this life, things change'

Brian Mitchell says an open-minded convo is needed on Redskins' name: 'In this life, things change'

On Wednesday, it was reported 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.

The news came in the midst of an increase in pushback toward the franchise as demand for racial justice swells across the country. Early Thursday, former Redskins running back and current NBC Sports Washington analyst Brian Mitchell spoke with Richard Graves of Sky Sports News about the issue. Mitchell stated that he believes change is going to come.

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

Since his statements, the issue has only escalated. FedEx, which holds the naming rights to the Redskins stadium, released a statement saying “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name." Others around the sports world have also commented on the issue, and Nike has removed all Redskins merchandise from its site.

RELATED ARTICLE: NOW REDSKINS WAIT TO SEE IF NIKE, PEPSI WILL FOLLOW FEDEX'S LEAD

Amid the ever-growing movement, recent actions have only confirmed Mitchell's beliefs, rather than surprised him.

The main reason he believes this is the normal course is due to the major brands that are now involved. To Mitchell, wealth has become a determining factor in what changes get made in America.

“Nothing happens in our country unless someone’s money is affected," Mitchell told NBC Sports Washington. "When you see that start to happen, then you see things start to happen. I think immediately when I started hearing that thing I felt that somebody was going to say something.”

However, FedEx being the first to speak out was something Mitchell didn't fully expect to see so quickly. Not only because the company sponsors the Redskins stadium, and holds a deal with them through 2025, but because FedEx President and CEO Frederick Smith owns a minority stake in the Redskins. 

That decision by a brand so intertwined with the team for years is what has Mitchell thinking things are only beginning.

“I think when you see things like that, you have to believe that something is moving now in the direction that we think it would be moving," Mitchell said. “If they’re starting to stay stuff, if they felt the pressure to say something, I have to believe that somebody else will feel the pressure as well.”

While companies speaking out is a start, others with power will ultimately control the decision. Namely, Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who has been outspoken in the past that the name is not something that is going to be changed, pointing to the long history of the franchise. Mitchell understands that point of view, but also feels that the name isn't what should represent the success.

He brings up a question he's asked time and time again surrounding the debate over the name.

“Do you cheer for the name or for the overall franchise, or do you cheer for players, cheer for the pride and all that type of things?" Mitchell said.

“Last time I saw people buying jerseys, I saw people buying jerseys with people's last names on the back of the jersey," Mitchell said. "Normally, what's on the back of the jersey is what people represent.”

In the end, that's what Mitchell believes it comes down to. Changing the name is not about tarnishing the legacy of the players and teams that have passed through Washington, but rather showing acceptance to those who are offended by the term.

Like in the past, life changes. As people grow and learn, holding on to the way things were in the past isn't what Mitchell believes to be right.

“Everybody wasn’t offended. But guess what? Those words left. You stopped using those words," Mitchell said “If something is offensive, we have to get to the point where we think of that all the same. In this life, things change, whether we want it or not sometimes. But I’ve always been told by my coaches when I played sports, you have to adjust. I think the same thing has to happen in life.” 

So, how exactly will this change come about? For Mitchell, who has dealt with this discussion since he joined the team in 1990, the same formula he preached back then needs to be enacted now. People need to come together with an open mind and a willingness to communicate, something he's seen the country struggle with constantly.

“I said then that what needs to happen is you need to have adults to sit down, and have a conversation. An educated, mature conversation, and then come up with a decision," Mitchell said. “You don’t go into the decision with a closed mind. You don’t go into a conversation with a closed mind. If you go into it with an open mind and just listen.”

No matter what comes in the future, Mitchell has seen enough to know the current state won't remain the same. As he said earlier in the day, there's no avoiding what is to come.

“It seems to be inevitable that something is going to happen," Mitchell said. 

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Burning questions: Who will break out for the Washington Football Team in 2020?

Burning questions: Who will break out for the Washington Football Team in 2020?

As training camp continues to pick up, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will come up with, and then respond to, some burning questions facing the 2020 Washington Football Team.

To start, they each answer the following: Who will be a breakout player in Burgundy and Gold?

JP's choice: Daron Payne

I’m not sure a former first-round pick counts as a breakout player but I think Daron Payne is poised to have a monster season. He has wild strength in his hands at the point of attack, to the point I remember one AFC scout telling me he was the strongest player in the 2018 draft.

Payne has played well, but not great, through two years in the NFL. In those two seasons, he has seven sacks and nine tackles for loss. Honestly. I think he should get to those totals in this year alone.

Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio pride themselves on preaching an aggressive philosophy, particularly up front. The plan is to defend the run on their way to the quarterback. 

There is nobody on this roster that shapes up better for that approach than Daron Payne. Add in the presence of Chase Young, Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat (and the attention those guys will attract) and you'll realize why you should prepare yourself for a big, big year from D-Payne. 

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Pete's choice: Antonio Gibson

I wanted to put Steven Sims here. I also wanted to put Antonio Gandy-Golden here. But in the end, I put Antonio Gibson here. And I feel really good about that, too.

Sure, I'm a bit concerned about Gibson having to split time between running back and receiver. RBs coach Randy Jordan recently told the media that in his meetings, he's having to remind Gibson to focus on his duties in the backfield instead of on the outside. Jordan said it while laughing, but I do think there is something to the third-rounder perhaps being stretched too thin as a rookie.

Then I remember that Gibson scored 12 touchdowns on 71 offensive touches last year for Memphis.

That leads me to remember that Washington, who had the only offense IN THE LEAGUE last year to average FEWER THAN 17 POINTS A GAME, is going to need someone like Gibson to spark drives.

Then I also remember that Ron Rivera and Scott Turner are now in charge of this side of the ball, and they loved using Christian McCaffrey in Carolina, and they're going to need someone dynamic to replace Christian McCaffrey in Washington.

Then I also also remember how unproven the majority of the receivers are on this roster, which means Gibson could see a lot of targets regardless of where he lines up.

Right now, Gibson is someone who's a bit of a mystery, even to Washington fans. Come December, though, that mystery will disappear and give way to a whole bunch of production.

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Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury admits his iconic draft photo was staged

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury admits his iconic draft photo was staged

Of all the moments that arose from the one-of-a-kind 2020 NFL Draft, the view inside Kliff Kingsbury’s house was easily the most memorable.

The Arizona Cardinals' head coach was pictured on draft night in an iconic photo at his insanely beautiful house, which quickly went viral. However, in a pre-camp interview on Wednesday, Kingsbury admitted that the photo was indeed staged.

"Going into it I knew I was going to be super extra in the picture," Kingsbury said. "I do think the fire –– it was 100 degrees and sunny –– was a bit much, but I laid four phones on the table because the NFL gave us a couple...all the screens, I just wanted to make it as extra as possible and it turned out good. It made for fun."

The photo featured Kingsbury lounging on his couch during the draft with four cell phones, a laptop and two computer screens on the table in front of him, which he later claimed he had “just in case” something went technologically wrong. The viral picture also showed a view of the coach’s backyard with a huge outdoor kitchen, firepit in the middle and stunning view of the mountains in the background.

While the photo was staged, his house is completely real. Kingsbury purchased the 7,000 square-foot house in Paradise Valley, Ariz. for $4.45 million in 2019 after joining the Cardinals. 

If he ever has to take part in a virtual draft again, Kingsbury has ideas for the next go-around. 

"The NFL only allowed us to have one person at the house or I might've had some people on the float swans in the back, or a DJ, really doing it big. There's always next year, hopefully."

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