If you play cornerback for the Washington professional football team, at some point there must be mandatory training on how to backpedal on the team’s nickname.
Hall of Famer Darrell Green did it last summer, and now current cornerback DeAngelo Hall is the latest to step slowly away from suggesting his employer’s mascot might be considered offensive to some.
After saying Thursday they “probably should” change the Redskins to something else, he came back Friday to clarify his position, saying he was caught off guard by the question.
“I was definitely surprised and thought I answered it as best I could,” Hall said, via Mike Jones of the Washington Post. “I guess, going back reading it, I didn’t see the exact extent of it and if I said that through the course of the interview.”
Like most current players, he had tried to stay out of the controversy, but said he understood the sensitivity of the topic.
“Back in the day, people dropped the N-word just like they were saying, ‘Hey, bro.’ Now, it means a whole heck of a lot for us,” Hall said. “Is this the same thing? I’m not Native American. I have some in my background – my granddad was part – but I can’t claim to understand where they’re coming from or their viewpoint, so for me to say what’s right or wrong or what should be changed is out of my pay grade.
“That decision ultimately — you know me, all teammates and I have stayed away from this topic. It’s one where you really can’t be right. Somebody’s going to view it one way, and somebody’s going to view it the other way. So, it’s not my team, as far as owning the team to make a change. That burden falls on Dan Snyder and the rest of the ownership committee.”
Having talked in a few complete circles, he probably should have stopped then, but he kept going.
“I was just trying to say that, ‘Hey, things 50 years ago are not what they are now. Will it change? Who knows,’” Hall said. “But, I love the name. I love the name. I have a Redskins head tat on my leg. Me growing up a Redskins fan and having an opportunity to play for them was the best honor I could have.”
Of course, he’s also a free agent, and he might appreciate the opportunity to cash some more of Snyder’s checks, which might sway his opinion a bit as well.