With the countdown to training camp ticking closer and closer to 10 a.m. Thursday, all eyes will be on RGIII as he "eases” back in to drills at practice. But two former players – both Hall of Famers – are also attracting attention.
Former Washington wide receiver Art Monk and cornerback Darrell Green are weighing in on the debate over the team's name.
When asked about the controversy over the word “Redskins” during a segment on WTOP radio, Monk said, “You know, as an African American, we are all sensitive to the names we have been tagged with over the years.”
Monk, who led the burgundy and gold to three Super Bowl victories, said a name change needs to be seriously considered.
“If Native Americans feel like ‘Redskins’ or the ‘Chiefs’ or another name is offensive to them, then who are we to say to them 'No, it's not?’” said Monk.
Green, who helped the team claim two Super Bowl titles, agreed. He said the name warrants a conversation. “Because somebody is saying, 'Hey, this offends me,' and then you have a conversation,” Green said.
Green continued, “Obviously, unfortunately in this country, conversations mean legal, dollars, suits, and all of that good stuff.”
As training camp gets underway in Richmond this week, many fans in Washington are still split in this debate.
Mike Geier said, “I'd like it changed, because there's always fighting. It doesn't matter to me, really, but I think it's kind of racist.”
Steve Mayala challenged the team. “My take is simple. I think they should ask Native American Redskins fans how they feel about it,” he said.
But others defended the name.
“The name of the team? No, it ain't that racist,” said Rawle Phillips.
Erin Johnson said, “I feel like you can't please everyone. They're gonna change it and then half of America is not going to be satisfied with that. So they're gonna have to keep changing it.”
Activists fighting for a change see Monk and Green's comments as an opportunity – an opening. But even out of the mouths of local sports legends, their opinions don't seem to be moving the needle much among fans.
Janet Tribble – who has been cheering for the team since the 1970s. When asked if the comments from Monk and Green affect her perspective, Tribble said no. “[Redskins has] been their name for a long, long time. Why mess up something that's old?” she said.
Another fan, Jesse Jones suggested that for the former players to call for a change now seems a little too convenient. “Because they done had their fame and everything,” Jones said. “They were using the name 'Redskins.' So how they gonna change it now to something else?”
It’s also unlikely the comments will influence the team’s owner.
In May, in response to political pressure from the D.C. Council and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Dan Snyder said in a statement, "We'll never change the name. It's that simple. Never."