London Fletcher started feeling ‘a little bit uneasy’ about Redskins name


(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

As the Redskins name became a bigger issue in recent months, many players have been asked for their feelings on the controversy. Almost universally, they’ve punted.

But apparently they weren’t all staying quiet behind the scenes. London Fletcher, appearing this week on NBC’s “SportsDash,” was asked about the Redskins name issue in the context of Donald Sterling, and whether it was hard to shut out that potential distraction.

“You know, I spent seven years in Washington and hadn’t really thought a whole lot about it until this past season,” Fletcher said. “You heard more about it in the news, more things were coming out about it. So I started to really look at it, and started to kind of take hold and get a true understanding of what the word Redskin meant. Get a history lesson, in a sense. And I started feeling a little bit uneasy about it. Voiced my concern to General Manager Bruce Allen, and suggested that Mr. Snyder, the owner, should go and speak with some of the Native Americans, just to get their thoughts on it, to find out how they truly feel about the name.”

For a leading player to suggest to the general manager that the Redskins owner should go on a listening tour is, I believe, unique in the franchise’s history.

“I said I think Mr. Snyder should go and talk to the Native Americans and really get a true understanding of how they feel about the Redskin name and if a lot of them feel like it’s offensive,” Fletcher said about the same issue on NBC Sports Network’s ‘Pro Football Talk.’  “He said they had gone out — not Dan in particular — but the Redskins, they’d gone out and done some polls and things like that.

“But I wanted Mr. Snyder to go out and talk to them, because he’s the one that ultimately is going to make the decision. It’s his football team and he’s been adamant about saying he’s never going to change the name, but I think if he goes and has some conversations maybe he might look at it a little bit different.”

Fletcher, of course, is retired now, and transitioning into a media career. I don’t believe any active Redskins players have been critical of the name in any way.

(Edit: I forgot about DeAngelo Hall’s comments, which he later modified. The second Fletcher quote has been modified to make it more accurate.)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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