Among many things that have been a prolific topic for fans of the Washington Redskins to discuss this offseason has been a potential name change that immediately ignites contentious conversation from two passionate sides whenever broached.
While one side has been calling for the Redskins to change their name for years, citing that it is a racial slur against Native Americans, the other has been strongly against it, saying that the name pays tribute to Native Americans and is meant to honor them. Many others have tried to stay out of it all.
You can now add Redskins’ coach Ron Rivera to the list of people choosing to stay out of the topic after he touched on the subject for the first time in a radio interview on Monday. While talking on McNeil & Parkins Show on Chicago radio station 670 The Score, Rivera state that the discussion about changing the name of the team is “a discussion for another time.”
“It’s all about the moment and the timing,” Rivera said, via NBC Sports Washington. “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.”
While it’s an understandable desire to keep sports and politics separate, to say that this is a matter for another time is part of the problem that much of America is facing today when dealing with the subject of racism in our society. With confederate statues being toppled left and right, and endless protests calling for equality, now seems to be a great time to look at the potentially wrongful acts of many sports teams, not just the Redskins.
“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.”
Many players in the NFL have been very outspoken about the issue of race and inequality, and Washington’s own Dwayne Haskins and Chase Young are two among them. Haskins attended the Black Lives Matter marches in D.C., while Young took part in a video for the NFL calling for a change in America. Rivera noted that he was proud of those players, and he also has stated that he supports anyone’s decision to kneel during the National Anthem. As for the name, though? Today is not the day that Rivera wants to discuss that.
So my question … when will he feel comfortable discussing this matter? It’s not a problem that will go away anytime soon, and the longer it goes without being discussed, the worse it is likely to get.