Tony Dungy, like many former NFL players, coaches, fans, and media members, used to use Washington's team name without any reservation. That was before the topic began to pick up more national steam as it relates to the team's nickname and whether or not Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder should consider making a change. Dungy, a Hall of Fame coach and current broadcaster, recently told The Undefeated's William C. Rhoden that he makes a conscious effort not to say Washington's team name during broadcasts. Dungy also doesn't see how it would be hard for the team to make a change to its team name.
"It's not hard to change the name," said Dungy, who in February of 2007 became the first African American coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory. "When I'm on the air, I try to just refer to them as Washington. I think it's appropriate. If the team doesn't want to change, the least I can do is try not to use it."
Dungy does not think using Washington's history and tradition to defend the continued use of the team name are legitimate reasons to continue to do so. Snyder, the team's owner since 1999, said in 2013 that he does not ever plan to change the team's name.
"You can say, 'This has been a historic name and we've used it for this team for X number of years," Dungy said, "but in this day and age, it's offensive to some people, so we're going to change it.' I don't think that's hard."
Earlier this week, Washington coach Ron Rivera was asked about whether it was time for the team to switch its team name. Rivera, who led the Panthers to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2015 season, said that he believes that that is a conversation "for a different time."
"I think it's all about the moment and the timing," Rivera said during an interview on 670 The Score's McNeil & Parkins Show. "But, I'm just somebody that's from a different era that when football wasn't such a big part of the political scene. 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, 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. I support the movements, support the players. I believe in what they're doing and, again, 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."
Washington has made several notable changes over the past month. The team recently decided to remove George Preston Marshall's name from the Ring of Fame. The team has also removed his statue from the former home of the team, RFK Stadium. Washington's original owner, Marshall, according to ESPN's John Keim, was the last NFL owner to integrate his franchise, not doing so until 1962. This move was recently applauded by Washington running back Adrian Peterson, who also said that he is constantly educating himself on the issue regarding the team's name during an interview with TMZ Sports.
The team has also announced the number retirement of Hall of Fame receiver Bobby Mitchell, the team's first African American player who passed away earlier this year. Washington will also rename the lower bowl of FedEx Field in Mitchell's honor.
Washington, despite continued public pressure to do so, has made no public plans to change its team name anytime soon.