Bruce Allen: Redskins not going to change name
“I’m proud to be the general manager of the Washington Redskins,” Bruce Allen said at ceremonial groundbreaking for the team's training camp facility in Richmond, on Thursday. “We represent an iconic sports franchise that’s 81 years old, that involves millions of fans worldwide, that has thousands of alumni. It’s ludicrous to think in any way that we’re trying to upset anybody. . . .”
“There’s nothing that we feel that is offensive, and we’re proud of our history,” continued Bruce Allen. “To suggest that players and coaches and fans are thinking any other way, it doesn’t make sense.”
The heat has picked up in the demand for a name change following last week’s forum at the Smithsonian where representatives condemned the use of the word, tracing back its racial roots. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray has also been on the fence regarding the use of the word by the team while several local columnist and commentators in recent weeks have criticized the Washington Redskins’ insensitivity towards the situation.
Last month, the National Congress of American Indians released a statement also called for a name change by the team.
“It’s time for the NFL and the Washington football team to join the 21st century and leave the mockery and racism of the past where it belongs, in the past,” read the statement.
Bruce Allen is just the most recent Washington Redskins official to address the name change issue. The Washington Redskins have tried to back their side of the case over the criticism of the nickname by featuring interviews with 70 different high school officials who still refer to themselves as "Redskins."
Bruce Allen added that last year’s second overall pick and the team’s starting quarterback Robert Griffin III is "progressing well" during rehabilitation from reconstructive knee surgery. While the Washington Redskins are hopeful the team’s franchise quarterback will be ready to return by the start of the season, Bruce Allen indicated that the team doctors will decide Robert Griffin III’s final status.
The Washington Redskins are also exploring options towards improving the FedEx Field after the turf conditions were heavily criticized by visiting teams during the postseason. Bruce Allen acknowledged that Washington Redskins failed to make the most of an opportunity in their Week 10 bye to re-sod the field, but the team would be cautious against such slip-ups in the future.