The biggest news around the NFC East this week surrounds Washington’s team.
Controversy has existed around the Washington Redskins name for years. But when majority owner Dan Snyder told USA Today Sports in 2013, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER - you can use the caps,” the conversation felt effectively over.
That dialogue reopened though on #BlackoutTuesday. On June 2, teams around the NFL tweeted out a black square to raise awareness against racism and police brutality. The Redskins were one of the teams that participated.
U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez challenged Washington though when she issued the following retweet:
Want to really stand for racial justice? Change your name. https://t.co/XTlIJrfNx4— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 2, 2020
The tweet got over 700,000 likes and more than 110,000 retweets.
Nothing appeared to change right away though. The Redskins removed the statue of former owner George Preston Marshall, the last NFL coach to integrate his team, and they removed his name from the Ring of Fame, their history wall outside the locker room and their website. It was progress but fans wanted more.
Over the holiday weekend, the Redskins announced that the organization will undergo a “thorough” review of the team’s name “in light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community.”
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said in the statement.
Just as the situation appeared to be improving in Washington, the Washington Post released a report on Sunday night that the Redskins three minority owners, who own about 40% of the team, are looking to sell their stakes. The owners—Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar and Frederick W. Smith—bought their shares back in 2003. Rothman is a chairman and CEO of the investment company Black Diamond Capital. Schar is a chairman of NVR Inc., the country’s fifth-largest home builder and Smith is a chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx. Pro Football Talk first reported on Sunday afternoon that Schar and Smith were trying to sell their interests in the team.
The statement came in response to news from FedEx just one day earlier asking the Redskins to change their name. In the next 24 hours, Nike, PepsiCo, and Bank of America all expressed their belief that the name should be changed. Nike has since removed all the team’s gear from its online store.
The statement by FedEx takes on added significance when we remember that one of the Redskins minority owners, Frederick W. Smith is the CEO of FedEx. While we would like to believe that the Redskins organization is responding to the current social climate, it is hard to dismiss the motivating factor that money always plays.
According to ESPN’s John Keim, one person familiar with the situation said the news likely came as a surprise to Snyder because he considered them all friends.
On that note, let’s dive into news around the division this week before circling back to the “Redskins.”
Meanwhile, in Philly you have DeSean Jackson sharing quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler on Instagram. Over the weekend, the wide receiver posted thoughts on Instagram by Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, including a highlighted passage attributed to Hitler.
The posts expressed anti-Semitic sentiments. The original post followed the holiday weekend in which Jackson apparently spent a significant amount of time watching and listening to Farrakhan, a controversial leader of the Nation of Islam.
“This man powerful,” Jackson said. “I hope everyone got a chance to watch this!! Don’t be blinded. Know what’s going on!!”
The Eagles have since issued a statement in reaction to Jackson’s post and Jackson himself issued a apology.
Jackson’s apology on instagram on Tuesday said the following:
“I post a lot of things that are sent to me. I do not have hatred towards anyone,” Jackson wrote. “I really didn’t realize what this passage was saying. Hitler has caused terrible pain to Jewish people like the pain African-Americans have suffered. We should be together fighting anti-Semitism and racism. This was a mistake to post this and I truly apologize for posting it and sorry for any hurt I have caused.”
The biggest news for the Cowboys this week actually did not happen in Dallas. On Monday, Patrick Mahomes signed a record-breaking 10-year, $503 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. It is the largest contract in sports history and locks Mahomes to the Chiefs until 2031.
Meanwhile, here the Cowboys are still trying to form a long-term contract with the star QB Dak Prescott.
We can expect Prescott to use Mahomes’ first five-year new money average of $39.95 million as, according to CBS Sports, “the new ceiling he knows he won’t get, and the $37 million floor he knows he likely will receive,” placing him at about $38 million annually.
The Cowboys did not want to set the market at QB and now they no longer need to be the team to orchestrate a blockbuster deal because the Chiefs took care of that.
Our colleagues at Blogging the Boys explained why it appears as though the Mahomes deal has not impacted Prescott’s contract negotiations. The Cowboys still have an offer that is longer than what Prescott wants to agree to. The franchise tag continues to give Prescott leverage as he fights for a shorter deal that is reflective of an expected spike in salary cap in a few year’s time.
Meanwhile the questions in Washington shift to logistics. What could the new name be and can the team rebrand everything in time for the 2020 season?
In a conversation with the Washington Post, Rivera said that he supports a name change and has had discussions with Snyder about it for over a month. “If we get it done in time for the season, it would be awesome,” Rivera said. Snyder started talking with NFL officials about the name change 2 1⁄2 weeks ago.
Adam Schefter shed some light on the rebrand on Wednesday.
In their discussions about a potential new name, Washington is planning to have no Native American imagery, per a league source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 8, 2020
ESPN’s John Keim has reported that the colors are likely to remain burgundy and gold.
So where does this leave us as far as potential options? Our colleagues at Hogs Haven put together a thorough list of the three top contenders: Warriors, Redwolves and Redtails.
“Warriors” has been getting a lot of play on social media. It still maintains the Redskins fighting spirit has ties back to the “Old DC.” The name would also honor members of the military, which Rivera has strong ties to due to his military upbringing. The Golden State Warriors of the NBA might have to watch out.
“Redwolves” is gaining traction because it begins with an “R” and would therefore allow the HTTR acronym to continue to be used.
As for the “Redtails,” in additions to the positives above, the name would honor the World War II African American aviation corps also known as the Tuskegee Airmen. These men made up the first black flying squadron.
In this ever-changing situation, we’ll see what Washington’s team becomes.