Ron Rivera: Washington name issue is “a discussion for another time”

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In nearly six months since becoming the new head coach of the Washington franchise, Ron Rivera hadn’t been asked about the team’s controversial name. On Monday, he was.

During a Monday afternoon interview on 670 The Score’s McNeil & Parkins Show, Rivera faced the subject. “I think that’s a discussion for another time,” Rivera said, adding that the team’s name was “always part of football” when he was growing up.

If it’s a discussion for another time, when is that other time? Many would say that, if right now isn’t the right time, there is no right time.”

“I think it’s all about the moment and the timing,” Rivera added. “But, you know, I’m just somebody that’s from a different era that when football wasn’t such a big part of the political scene. You know, that’s one of the tough things for me, too, is I’ve always wanted to try to keep that separate. People have wanted me to get involved in politics, you know, when I was coaching and I kept telling them, ‘It’s not for me to get up here and influence people.’ I have my beliefs, I know what I think, you know, I support the movements, you know, support the players. I believe in what they’re doing and, again, you know, I think that there are certain elements to certain things that it’s all about the timing and the best time to discuss those things.”

That’s fine, but it runs counter to the broad message sent by Rivera two weeks ago in an email to all team employees, where he explained that an internal town hall discussion had given 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.” He also said 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, with an invitation 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.”

Those messages to team employees came days after Rivera made this public declaration: “I have been tasked with leading this entire organization and I have always believed in the mantra that actions speak louder than words.”

The only action that makes sense in this moment is changing the name. It’s a dictionary-defined slur, with the team’s only safe harbor coming from a flawed 2016 Washington Post poll of self-identifying Native Americans, only nine percent of whom are offended by the name. (As if nine percent is acceptable.)

And so it appears that, like the NFL is doing with Colin Kaepernick, Rivera could be trying to run out the clock, hopeful that the pressure to change the name in this moment yields to a moment during which people are paying attention to something else.

67 responses to “Ron Rivera: Washington name issue is “a discussion for another time”

  1. Since you’re using football analogies, running out the clock might be more genuine than moving the goalposts…

  2. Best time is to change the name right before the Super Bowl. No one is paying attention right now. Do it in front of the world next February.

  3. He’s the coach. He’s an employee. Asking him is cheap and gutless.

    The only answer that matters is Snyder’s. Ask him.

  4. What he means by another time is after he is gone, not while he is part of the organization.

  5. Okay, as an indigenous person, I find his response unacceptable and will support the nfl at “some other time”.

  6. A newly-hired coach has the least pull on this. Players can threaten holdouts and speak out without much fear of reprisal, but a new coach can just be fired. This is ultimately on the owner.

    But where are the players? Social justice is important when it’s their own welfare, but apparently not when it’s anyone else’s.

    Any black player who speaks out against racism but plays for this team is not only a hypocrite, but a racist themselves. Privileged millionaires putting their own comfort ahead of what’s right. It’s a reminder of how much self-interest guides humanity, and how those supposedly holier-than-thou really aren’t.

  7. Timing really has nothing to do with it. Had he just said, “It isn’t my call, and this is my employer, so I will refrain from commenting”, I think that would have been fine. While I side with those who think the name should change, I can entirely understand why he would choose to not voice an opinion while employed by the team.

  8. Maybe a coach like Billl Belichick has enough gravitas to approach his owner with a suggestion to change the name of the team.
    Ron Rivera is a brand new employee who doesn’t carry the kind of weight to even initiate those kinds of conversations.
    Maybe if he had just bought the team or something, it would be appropriate to ask him something like that.
    This is just digging for a sound bite and fishing for a story.

  9. Idk, maybe Ron Rivera wants to talk about football and not politics? I mean he is a football coach and there is a ton of pressure on him to win. It’s not like his opinion on the subject will change the name anyways. Let the man coach.

  10. No, it’s not. The discussion is over. Change the name now.
    It won’t happen, tho… Since it’s Rivera doing the talking on this, and not the gutless owner, no change is forthcoming. Not until true change comes to Washington, DC will the ownership see fit to strip this racist name from a good team.

  11. Unfortunately that’s a time without a time…

    That’s also above his pay grade. He can’t come in and make a comment about this even if he felt strongly.

  12. Wow just wow people need a life. Apparently I do to because I read this never-ending social justice, pc cancel culture garbage. The silent majority has been patient, very patient but stop the nonsense especially since most Native Americans aren’t offended. It’s a compliment for Christ’s sake!

  13. If 9% “offended” is unacceptable, about what percentage of fans do you think are offended by kneeling at flag and anthem? You (and players) can pretend all you want that it’s not “supposed” to be offensive, but it is to a large portion of people (ie. those who love America regardless of it’s flaws) — and you can’t change that by trying to say that it’s not (offensive).

  14. I understand both viewpoints and everything in between on this hot button issue. There are some other team names that get by without scrutiny for example cowboys.The cowboys were an outlaw gang not a romantic western hero. The fact that their symbol is a star worn by law men of the era is atleast ironic.

  15. The time isn’t right because the owner Dan Snyder, Rivera’s boss, has said bluntly that he will never change the name. It will take the NFL to force him to change the name. It will take massive public pressure for the NFL to do that. Until that pressure comes the Redskins will remain the Redskins.

  16. “I’m just somebody that’s from a different era that when football wasn’t such a big part of the political scene.“ That must have been nice. To someone from my generation of twenty-somethings, the world Rivera speaks of may as well be Middle-earth.

  17. “Now is not the time”. That’s the line the NRA and the usual posse of Republican senators always use after yet another mass shooting. It’s a tired line then, Ron saying it now doesn’t make it any fresher. Reading between the lines, his sentiments could not be more clear.

  18. I’m a liberal and have basically Spanish and native ancestry. But the name Washington Redskins doesn’t offend me .
    I don’t get the problem with it. To me the organization is an iconic american sports franchise. And I’m a cowboys fan. Leave the name in place.

  19. Snyder made his fortune through marketing. The name will change and he will make millions on sales of the new merchandise.

  20. Now is the time to change it with all that is going on in our country.racist statues are being toppled by order of State Govts,the racist State flag of Mississippi is being lowered for the final time after 126 years,Americans are in the streets of America protesting racism in the country and in November the electorate will remove a racist President from the White House. now is the perfect time to change the Redskins name,their excuses for not doing it years ago have run out.

  21. It’s a team name deep in NFL tradition, hopefully it continues.

    Stanford changed its nickname from Indians to Cardinal 50 years ago, it still doesn’t make any sense.

  22. How does Rivera explain it to his wife and kids when he’s unemployed? Rivera knew who Dan Snyder was when he took the job. That would be throwing away a lot of money. He wasn’t hired to try to fix all of our nation’s problems. Let him get entrenched in the community first. Maybe he has a long term plan that he’s not sharing. I’d say leave Rivera alone for now. He could be working with Snyder behind closed doors. It would be better if Snyder did it himself.

  23. Just like the politicians he is burying his head int he sand to make sure he keeps his income.

    when will the time be? When your paychecks stop then you will have an epiphany and suddenly you change your mind?

  24. The Redskins were named by a racist owner. The Redskins are now owned by a racist owner who refuses to do anything about the name not to mention the organization is the worst in football. And worst of all the fans condone it like they condone losing. They are gluttons for punishment paying crazy prices for parking, beer, and tickets to watch their team lose game after game.

  25. It’s very simple. It’s called context. For 68 years it’s context has been war paint and honor. For 68 years the majority of natives have agreed.

  26. phuzzball says:
    June 30, 2020 at 12:38 am
    If 9% “offended” is unacceptable, about what percentage of fans do you think are offended by kneeling at flag and anthem? You (and players) can pretend all you want that it’s not “supposed” to be offensive, but it is to a large portion of people (ie. those who love America regardless of it’s flaws) — and you can’t change that by trying to say that it’s not (offensive).

    ——————————————————————————————————

    That’s an interesting point. I’d be curious to see Florio address it. That’s in no way a subliminal stab at him—I’m genuinely curious as to his counterargument. Being as non-biased as I can be, it does seem as though a double standard is afoot at the very least.

  27. phuzzball says:
    June 30, 2020 at 12:38 am

    If 9% “offended” is unacceptable, about what percentage of fans do you think are offended by kneeling at flag and anthem? You (and players) can pretend all you want that it’s not “supposed” to be offensive, but it is to a large portion of people (ie. those who love America regardless of it’s flaws) — and you can’t change that by trying to say that it’s not (offensive)
    —————————————-
    A million percent right on!

  28. This guy gained my respect for not giving in to the PC mob.
    Well done Ron. We need more strong men like you to stand up to this nonsense.

  29. phuzzball says:
    June 30, 2020 at 12:38 am
    If 9% “offended” is unacceptable, about what percentage of fans do you think are offended by kneeling at flag and anthem? You (and players) can pretend all you want that it’s not “supposed” to be offensive, but it is to a large portion of people (ie. those who love America regardless of it’s flaws) — and you can’t change that by trying to say that it’s not (offensive).

    —–

    Ouch! Let’s see if Florio has the sack to address this post. Perhaps he can write an article discussing this

  30. In other words, if the players protest for a name change, “another time” will be now.

    Way to go Ron. You’re hardly a “Riverboat” gambler; you’re safely huddled in the bunker with Trump.

  31. Great name, even better fight song. Let’s keep it as the only people “offended” are a few writers and activists. This is a faux controversy.

  32. What are the odds that the Redskins change the name to something completely different. Like the Red Hawks or something. And then within 2 years people will be complaining that the team name no longer represents the native americans, LMFAO. You know it is coming. Someone, somewhere is going to say “I am glad they changed the name to something that isnt ‘offensive’ but now they dont represent my culture, waaaaah, waaaah”

  33. riggo08 says:
    June 30, 2020 at 7:07 am
    Snyder made his fortune through marketing. The name will change and he will make millions on sales of the new merchandise.

    Who’s going to buy all that merchandise? You? I am a 50 year Skins fan, and I am not going to buy a single item with Potato “Skins” or any other name on it.

  34. He’s got so many other things to focus on with a new team, and a crazy beginning to the NFL year. He really shouldn’t have to answer questions about a team name change. That needs to go to the owner of the team. Asking him, is basically just media trying to stir things up.

  35. “I’m just somebody that’s from a different era that when football wasn’t such a big part of the political scene.“ That must have been nice. To someone from my generation of twenty-somethings, the world Rivera speaks of may as well be Middle-earth.
    ——————-
    All that is said above means that you need to grow up and quit being so thin skinned. That existence must be miserable.

  36. Uses the 9% argument to support his agenda….ignores the even more than 9% offended by kneeling during the anthem because it doesn’t fit his agenda.

  37. The Ravens have been a successful team in the area while the other team has not had a good run for decades, kids wear more ravens swag than the other team in the area. soon the older fans of the other team will be gone and the ravens will have taken over the market.

  38. ninersapologist says:
    June 30, 2020 at 11:56 am
    “I’m just somebody that’s from a different era that when football wasn’t such a big part of the political scene.“ That must have been nice. To someone from my generation of twenty-somethings, the world Rivera speaks of may as well be Middle-earth.
    ——————-
    All that is said above means that you need to grow up and quit being so thin skinned. That existence must be miserable.

    ————————————————————

    Fair enough. I’ll give you a thumbs up for that. Well spotted as concerns your assessment of my existence—it certainly is miserable. That has very little to do with football and culture at large and much more to do with my struggles with bipolar disorder, though. I’d better watch my words, however. I don’t want to end up hospitalized receiving electroconvulsive therapy three days a week. Again. Thank you for the reminder of how miserable my existence is. Silly me; sometimes I forget. Have a good one.

  39. He doesn’t have any say in the matter, so why even ask his opinion?

    I can’t wait to hear what Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin think about the subject.

    This story was old 30 years ago. If you want to ask Snyder, the team president or Goodell about it, great… Anyone else on the team payroll, you’re just fishing to try to get them into trouble.

  40. It has to start somewhere,
    It has to start sometime,
    What better place than here?
    What better time than now?

    -Rage Against the Machine, Guerrilla Radio

  41. phuzzball says:
    June 30, 2020 at 12:38 am

    If 9% “offended” is unacceptable, about what percentage of fans do you think are offended by kneeling at flag and anthem?

    =============

    If you are equating a racial slur used by a dominant group toward another group that it committed genocide against with someone not following a vaguely-defined protocol for a symbolic ceremony arbitrarily shoehorned into a sporting event for no good reason, then you’ve got a lot of work to do.

  42. kevpft says:
    June 30, 2020 at 1:44 pm
    phuzzball says:
    June 30, 2020 at 12:38 am

    If 9% “offended” is unacceptable, about what percentage of fans do you think are offended by kneeling at flag and anthem?

    =============

    If you are equating a racial slur used by a dominant group toward another group that it committed genocide against with someone not following a vaguely-defined protocol for a symbolic ceremony arbitrarily shoehorned into a sporting event for no good reason, then you’ve got a lot of work to do.

    —–

    Translation: “The things I find offensive are important and we must do something about them….the things you finds offensive and I don’t….don’t matter”

  43. Here’s where I think Snyder is making a mistake. There were a lot of injustices done to Native Americans, just like to blacks, Latinos, several other groups. If he gets rid of “Redskins”, people are less likely to be reminded of it. Out of sight, out of mind. Snyder would be making his life easier.

  44. Everybody is so easily offended these days….the WW 2 generation would shake their heads at how soft people are nowadays.

  45. Has anyone ever heard it used as a slur or in a racist way? There’s your answer confused generation.

  46. I sincerely don’t understand why the name shouldn’t be protected by the First Amendment but kneeling for the anthem should be protected.

    Both should be protected.

    Free speech is absolutely essential to a democracy. Controlling speech equals thought control. Respecting free speech sometimes entails enduring speech that makes your skin crawl.

  47. officialgame says:
    June 30, 2020 at 9:14 am
    The Redskins were named by a racist owner. The Redskins are now owned by a racist owner who refuses to do anything about the name not to mention the organization is the worst in football.

    ——————————————————————
    What is the evidence that the owner who originally coined the name was a racist? Remember that the term redskin to apply to American Indians was actually first coined by an American Indian chief. It is only recently that it has been thought of as racist. And with respect to Dan Snyder, is his refusal to change the name based on racism or is it based on money? Does he get more income from a fan base who might drop support for the team if he were to change its historical name or would he get more money from potential fans who do not support the team because of the name? Snyder may or may not be racist, but the color he likes the best is green.

  48. Given that Ron Rivera’s role with the Washington Redskins franchise is that of head coach, I am not surprised that he does not want to discuss the team nickname. It is a no-win situation for him. If he comes in in support of the name, he offends the SJWs and low I’ll be hammered mercilessly by left-wing sports writers. If he comes out against the name, he offends the man who signs his paycheck and the fan base of the team that he coaches. AS such, the best he can do is to try and kick the can down the road or as Florio says, “run out the clock.”

  49. **only safe harbor coming from a flawed 2016 Washington Post poll of self-identifying Native Americans,**

    Well they also won in court over the name. So that’s another safe harbor as it were.

    I would guess, that this poll you speak that is “flawed”, is only flawed because the result doesn’t fit the outcome you desire.

    Had it been part of you’re agenda, you would not be dismissing it as flawed. But carry on

  50. I mean… the players and league have never been more politically correct at this time. Saving it for another time means the name is never gonna change.

    If as little as probably 5 Washington Redskins players said today they weren’t playing until they were Washington (New Nickname) players we’d have a new name.

  51. I am trying to remember when this renaming issue first was brought up. Was that in the late ’90’s? I certainly don’t remember this being mentioned when they won their last Super Bowl for the 1991 season.

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