Ron Rivera thinks Dan Snyder is ready to change team name, ‘would be awesome’ if done before season

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Ryan Young
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The Washington Redskins announced on Friday that the organization is undergoing a thorough review of its name following extreme backlash in recent weeks.

Newly-hired head coach Ron Rivera said on Saturday that he’s all for the change — and that he’s actually been brainstorming new team names with team owner Dan Snyder for about a month.

He’s even optimistic that a change could be in place for the start of the season this fall.

“If we get it done in time for the season, it would be awesome,” Rivera told The Washington Post on Saturday.

Snyder has long been opposed to changing the team’s name, despite it clearly being a racial slur offensive to Native Americans. He’s resisted calls to do so from Native American groups and even the White House. In 2013, he even told USA Today that the name will “never change.”

“It’s that simple,” Snyder said in 2013. “NEVER — you can use caps.”

But this week, major sponsors and partners — including Nike, PepsiCo and FedEx, which owns the naming rights to their stadium — began severing ties with the franchise over its name. So, the team finally announced the “review” of its name on Friday.

Rivera said Saturday that Snyder “started speaking in earnest with NFL officials” about changing the name more than two weeks ago, and thinks he is ready to finally make the change.

He even feels the two have come up with several new suitable names for the team, though declined to share what they were.

“We came up with a couple of names, two of them I really like,” Rivera told The Washington Post.

Rivera spent the past nine years leading the Carolina Panthers, and was hired by Snyder this past offseason. He spent some time in the Washington area as a kid and was a fan of the franchise, he told The Washington Post, though never had an issue with the team’s name.

Now, he said, his “eyes are wide open” — and thinks that Snyder’s are too.

“It was hard to fathom that it was in any way a racist thing, to be honest with you,” Rivera told The Washington Post. “Now, putting it in perspective, there’s been a change.”

No matter Snyder’s reasoning, it seems that his team will finally have a new name in the immediate future.

Whatever he and Rivera land on, the coach said he wants to make sure it doesn’t come off as “a joke.”

“We want to do this in a positive way,” he told The Washington Post.

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, left, speaks, accompanied by new head coach Ron Rivera, during a media conference at the team's training facility on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Ashburn, Va.
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, left, speaks, accompanied by new head coach Ron Rivera, during a media conference at the team's training facility on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Ashburn, Va. (AP/Alex Brandon)

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