At a moment that cries out for change, the Washington franchise is taking action. But not the action it needs to take.
Via JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, the team will join the growing throng of NFL franchises in making Juneteeth a holiday.
Coach Ron Rivera communicated the decision to the organization on Tuesday, explaining that an internal town hall discussion gave him “new perspective on many of the societal issues that have been highlighted and learned a great deal after hearing all your stories, experiences and suggestions about how our organization can make a difference in helping to make our community safer for people of color.”
Rivera added that the town hall meeting is “only the beginning and we still want to hear your suggestions on how we as an organization can take action in the fight against social injustice and police brutality.”
And so, on Friday, Rivera “challenge[s] you all to take the day to reflect on our discussions this past week and really dive in and do some research to come up with additional ideas that we can implement to improve our community.” Rivera said that he will be “sending out specific action items the organization will be executing” later this week.
“Now we must put our minds together and take the next step in creating programs to fight this battle,” Rivera said.
If you have just finished reading the last four paragraphs, go back and read then again while constantly reminding yourself that the name of the team is a dictionary-defined racial slur. Now, ask yourself this: Is Rivera completely tone deaf, or is he possibly laying the foundation for an organic, internal movement that creates overwhelming, undeniable momentum for the franchise to decide from within that the name of the team should change?
Given what I know of Ron Rivera, I’m going to assume it’s the latter. And I’ll hope that, unlike most of my assumptions, this one ends up being accurate.