For the first time since taking over as Redskins head coach in January, Ron Rivera made public comments about the team's name on Monday.
During an interview on McNeil & Parkins Show on Chicago radio station 670 The Score, the head coach explained that he prefers to keep his opinions on political and social issues private, saying the conversation about the name should be "a discussion for another time."
"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."
Additionally, Rivera said that he likes to keep his own political beliefs removed from his coaching style.
"People have wanted me to get in politics while I'm coaching and I keep telling them, 'It's not for me to get up there and influence people,'" Rivera said. "I have my beliefs, I know what I think, I support the movements, support the players. I believe in what they're doing. There are certain elements to certain things. It's all about the timing and the best time to discuss those things."
The head coach was asked about the name 'Redskins' at a time where the United States is currently in civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd in May. Since then, several protests have occurred across the country, with demands for social justice and racial equality in America. Several athletes across multiple sports participated in the protests, too.
During a recent Zoom session with the local media, Rivera emphasized his support for his players as they speak out about societal issues. Additionally, he has said he will support his players that plan to kneel for the national anthem before games this season.
"Right here in our backyard, the nation's capital, Washington D.C. there were massive protests, demonstrations outside of the White House, and Pennsylvania Avenue was even transformed into Black Lives Matter Plaza," Rivera said. "I was proud of our community for joining together to condemn these societal issues that have faced our community for far too long. I was especially proud of two of our young players: Dwayne Haskins and Chase Young. Dwayne headed into D.C. last weekend to take part in the protests and gain a better understanding of how he can make a difference. Chase took part in the call to action video that some of the top players in our league created last week. Their message was powerful and one that every fan of this league should support."
Washington's football franchise was originally named the Boston Braves, but the team relocated to the nation's capital in 1937 and has been the 'Redskins' ever since. Activists in recent years have requested for the name to be changed due to the ethnic stereotyping of Native Americans.
Rivera has additionally held multiple Zoom calls with his players and said that he feels prepared to participate in any conversations about the name.
"I'll just say this, I've done a lot of research on a lot of things that I do," Rivera said. "I don't go into any conversations not prepared."
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