Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall on Friday attempted to provide some clarity to his statement on the team’s nickname and whether it should be changed.
Hall on Thursday made an appearance on Fox Sports show “Keepin’ it Real with Mike Hill.” During a series of questions, Hill asked Hall about the name. The exchange went as follows:
Hill: “Skins: name change or not? Redskins.”
Hall: “I think eventually they will change it. Um–.”
Hill: “Should they change it?”
Hall: “See, I’m–.”
Hill: “Keep it real.”
Hall: “Gosh, Mike. I–.”
Hill: “But they should.”
Hall: “They probably should. But, they won’t. They won’t for a while, at least.”
The interview then moved onto another topic.
Hall said Friday morning that a number of people, some within the Redskins organization, contacted him after the TV appearance, asking him about his remarks. Several friends e-mailed him an article about what he said. The cornerback said that he was caught off guard both by the question and the reaction, and tried to explain his intended message.
“I was definitely surprised and thought I answered it as best I could,” said Hall, who will be a free agent this offseason. “I guess, going back reading it, I didn’t see the exact extent of it and if I said that through the course of the interview.”
Hall and his teammates had avoided giving an opinion on the name topic, always deferring to the organization’s higher-ups whenever asked.
On Friday he acknowledged the sensitive nature of the topic, and said that he understands both sides.
“Back in the day, people dropped the N-word just like they were saying, ‘Hey, bro.’ Now, it means a whole heck of a lot for us,” Hall said. “Is this the same thing? I’m not Native American. I have some in my background – my granddad was part – but I can’t claim to understand where they’re coming from or their viewpoint, so for me to say what’s right or wrong or what should be changed is out of my pay grade.
“That decision ultimately – you know me, all teammates and I have stayed away from this topic. It’s one where you really can’t be right. Somebody’s going to view it one way, and somebody’s going to view it the other way. So, it’s not my team, as far as owning the team to make a change. That burden falls on Dan Snyder and the rest of the ownership committee. But, to just totally X-out the past of what the Redskins mean? I grew up a huge Redskins fan. Being from Virginia Beach, that’s all I knew: Darrell Green, Dexter Manley and all those other guys, Joe Theismann. I don’t want to take anything away from those guys or the history of what they mean to myself and the National Football League.”
Hall continued, “But, I wasn’t saying, ‘Hey, let’s go change the name.’ I just mean that at some point, if it’s upsetting people to the extent that they’re in the majority, then, being a smart businessman, it’ll probably get addressed through the proper channels. But the last time I heard, I think the last poll I seen, it was 90 percent in favor of keeping the name, including the Native American community. So, for me to comment on something that I have no real knowledge of, or doesn’t really affect me as far as the negativity of the phrase, I’d be doing myself, and Native Americans all over, an injustice to really speak on it.
“But that wasn’t my intent of it,” he said. “I was just trying to say that, ‘Hey, things 50 years ago are not what they are now. Will it change? Who knows.’ But, I love the name. I love the name. I have a Redskins head tat on my leg. Me growing up a Redskins fan and having an opportunity to play for them was the best honor I could have. And this ain’t about me wanting to come back. If I come back, I come back. If I don’t, I don’t. This has nothing to do with that at all. This is just trying to get it straight and really saying what I meant to say.”