Ron Rivera hasn’t coached a single game in Washington yet. Hell, because of coronavirus, he hasn’t even coached a single practice yet.
Rivera is well on his way to being the most important Redskins coach since Joe Gibbs walked these halls.
Love it or hate it, the Redskins seem to be on the precipice of changing their name, and despite being in charge of the organization for a little more than six months, Rivera is involved in that decision.
When the team formally announced a thorough review of the Redskins' name in early July, Rivera was quoted in the statement, right after team owner Dan Snyder.
“This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military," Rivera said in that statement.
Take a step back.
The head coach, that hasn't coached a single game yet, is going to work with the team owner about possibly changing an 80-year old name?
Yeah, that's how important Ron Rivera is in Ashburn.
Publicly or privately, Rivera seems a big factor in the evolution of the Redskins organization. After the murder of George Floyd, it was Rivera that came out with a message supporting Black Lives Matter.
And after FedEx publicly asked the Redskins to change their name — setting off an avalanche of requests from major corporate partners — it was Rivera that joined Snyder in the announcement of a possible name change.
It's fair to ask if Rivera is the right person for the job. After all, as pointed out earlier, he hasn't even coached a game wearing Burgundy and Gold yet. Rivera might not be steeped in Redskins history, but he has innate, natural leadership skills. Bruce Allen was steeped in Redskins history and also had leadership skills, but they were more similar to Darth Vader's.
Rivera inspires people, ask many of his former players. And right now, that leadership is part of inspiring change at Redskins Park.
Snyder hired Rivera to overhaul a losing, toxic culture. He's been applauded for his foresight and commitment to diversity across the NFL. Whether or not Rivera — or anyone else — expected those two changes to collide so early in his Redskins tenure no longer matters.
The collision happened the afternoon of George Floyd's murder, and so far, Rivera has proven the man for the job.
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MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- Letter to NFL: Native American groups ask for name change
- Ownership: Minority owners wanted Snyder to sell
- Best & Worst: Name changes in sports history