Over the next few days, and in the spirit of a Presidential election year, NBC Sports Washington is polling ex-Redskins players and NFLers who grew up in the DMV for their thoughts on the burgundy-and-gold's pending name change - and what name THEY would like to see.
Last Tuesday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera was asked in a radio interview his opinion on the Redskins keeping their name.
"It's all about the moment and the timing," Rivera said. "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."
His response, which was the first time he publicly addressed the team's controversial name since taking over in January, was very unlike himself, according to ESPN980's Doc Walker. That's when Walker first felt that perhaps there was some movement behind the scenes about a potential change in the matter.
"The thing that I'm surprised about is that when Ron was asked about it earlier in the week, his answer indicated to me that something's up," Walker told NBC Sports Washington. "Because he's been so straight forward and a terrific leader. But he didn't answer that with confidence, and that told me something was going on behind the scenes."
Since then, the team has faced tremendous amounts of public pressure from its largest corporate sponsors, specifically FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America. On Friday, Washington announced that it's undergoing a "thorough investigation" of its team name. In short, a change appears to be rather imminent.
As for what the Redskins new name will be, Walker believes there's a rather simple choice.
"The Warriors. It's so easy," Walker told NBC Sports Washington. "All you have to do is put the arrow back on the helmet. You don't have to change anything else. Warriors on the warpath, fight for old D.C. It's that simple."
The Warriors, along with the Redtails and Redhawks, have been a few of the popular choices for a potential change. However, Walker doesn't believe Washington would be able to sell the name 'Redtails' in the country's current climate of social justice.
"I've heard Redtails. I've learned about them. That was cool for me to learn," Walker said. "In this climate right now, let me see them sell that. I just think that at some point, you can't change and erase hundreds of years of neglect and racism in a month. It's just unrealistic that you can wipe everything clean with one swipe. It's going to be a struggle, but you do have to get the process started."
Walker, who played tight end for Washington for six seasons in the 1980s, believes that switching the name is the right choice, especially since the name 'Redskins' is offensive to a certain group of people.
"When it's something that brings a group of people pride, that's one thing," Walker said. "But if it shames some of them, then you don't do that. For me, whenever it's a mixed message, I opt to the side of the people that are affected the most."
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