Redskins Legends Art Monk, Darrell Green Say Team Should Discuss Name Change


Art Monk (Credit: AP)

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed to “NEVER” change the name of his football team, even as it faces a landmark lawsuit in a federal trademark court and controversy has swirled around it during the offseason. For the most part, current and former Redskins players have supported that decision.

But in an interview on Washington’s WTOP radio flagged by The Shadow League today, two former Redskins legends brought a different take. Hall of Famers Art Monk, who played wide receiver for the Redskins from 1980 to 1993, and Darrell Green, a defensive back who played his entire 20-year career with the franchise, said there should be a serious discussion about whether the name should be changed.

“[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’?” Monk said.

“It deserves and warrants conversation because somebody is saying, ‘Hey, this offends me,'” Green added, later lamenting that, “Unfortunately in this country, conversations mean legal, dollars, suits.”

Green is right that the only real conversation around the name is taking place in a courtroom, but that’s because Snyder, the NFL, and the Redskins have refused to acknowledge that some may find the name offensive. The Redskins have trumpeted a poll that shows that a majority of Americans prefer keeping the name as well as another showing that a majority of Redskins fans feel the same way. That, as we’ve noted, ignores the fact that only 0.6 percent of Washington’s population identifies as Native American.

The team has also invited a Native American tribal leader on its weekly television program to defend the name — only to find out later that the “chief” it hosted was not a chief and probably wasn’t Native American at all. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, meanwhile, called the name a symbol for “strength, courage, pride, and respect” in a June statement that misstated numerous historical facts and relied on another poll that purported to show that Native Americans supported the name but was rife with its own problems.

Green and Monk, however, are willing to acknowledge what the Redskins, the NFL, and many of the franchises’ former players are not: that if members of the Native American population find the name offensive, as many do, it merits at least a discussion about whether it should be changed, even if the general population and Dan Snyder feel differently.