What Is Going On With The Former Washington Redskins?

The Former Redskins franchise is going through a difficult time, and has been subject to scrutiny in most every way.

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After several years of controversy, and amidst ongoing global social protests, the Washington Redskins announced earlier this month that they would be changing their name and logo effective immediately. Last week a story broke detailing sexual harassment from former employees. Earlier this week, the organization brought in two high level executives in Julie Donaldson and Terry Bateman. And now, earlier this evening, the Fritz Pollard Group has formally requested the NFL investigate whether the organization adhered to the latest forms of the Rooney Rule in those two hires


Clearly the franchise is going through a difficult time, and has been subject to scrutiny in most every way. Celebrities as influential as Mark Cuban have come forward criticizing Dan Snyder and the Washington No-names in some way, shape, or form


What exactly is going on in Landover, MD?

The Name Change

The first criticism of the use of “Redskins” as the name of a franchise came in 1971, which means the organization has faced backlash for its name for more than half of its existence (founded in 1933, thirty-eight years old when it first faced criticism, and it’s been forty-nine years since). A group of Washington based journalists published an article comparing the name to the use of slurs against African Americans and Jewish Americans


Then president Edward Bennett Williams wrote a letter suggesting the name was meant to convey respect for Native Americans


The franchise again faced public outcry during their Super Bowl appearance in 1992 in Minnesota, and later faced a petition from several Native American tribes to change their name and strip them of trademark rights


Then, in 1999, Suzan Shown Harjo won her case with the Federal Trademark Trials and Appeal Board to strip Washington of their trademark rights. This ruling was successfully appealed in 2009


Dan Snyder doubled down on the name in 2013, saying “We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.” When pressed further if he would call a Native American a redskin to their face he replied, “I think the best way is to just not comment on that type of stuff.”


Finally, on July 13, 2020, the team released a statement that they would begin a process of changing their name and logo, in the midst of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests following the killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin and the Minneapolis police department


Our personal suggestions were the Washington Sentinels, Generals, Red Wolves, or Rough Riders but the Franchise finally decided to go with the somehwhat generice name of the Washington Football club.

Washington Football Team

Sexual harassment allegations

Last week, 15 women, only Emily Applegate has agreed to be mentioned by name, came forward and accused Richard Mann II and Larry Michael, former employees of the Washington Redskins, of sexual harassment. The women provided screenshots of inappropriate text messages from Mann. They have not been released to the public


Mann was quickly fired, while Michael retired Wednesday the 15th, one day before the allegations were first covered by the Washington Post


While Dan Snyder and General Manager Bruce Allen were not directly accused of any such behavior, Applegate suggested Snyder allowed the harassment to continue and cultivated an environment where the accused felt comfortable harassing female employees


Snyder responded by claiming to strive to lead the organization in a new direction following the appointment of new head coach Ron Rivera to strive to create a culture of upstanding reputation

New faces

On Monday, the Washington franchise announced they’d signed Terry Bateman as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Bateman is tasked with overseeing the name change and rebranding effort for the foreseeable future


The next day the team brought in Julie Donaldson, a former anchor for NBC Sports Washington, to be their senior vice president of media. She is tasked with working closely with Bateman to rebuild the tarnished reputation of the franchise


The Fritz Pollard Alliance, however, has taken issue with the process, claiming that the NFL needs to investigate whether or not Snyder and Washington followed requirements of the latest installation of the NFL’s Rooney Rule


The Rooney Rule was instituted in 2003, and updated once in 2009 and again in 2019, to attempt to bring more diversity to staff positions of NFL organizations. The rule currently requires that teams interview at least two minority candidates for coaching positions, and at least one minority candidate for executive positions


Both Donaldson and Bateman are white, and have a previous relationship with Snyder. Donaldson being a Washington sports personality for years, and Bateman and Snyder have a longtime business relationship


Considering the rapid fire announcements of the hire amidst the dual crises,  it’s possible the proper protocols were not followed


The Rooney Rule is an attempt to bring diversity to the management levels of a corporation whose work force is 70% black

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