John Riggins is latest Washington great to condemn Commanders nickname

WASHINGTON,DC-CIRCA 1982:John Riggins of the Washington Redskins rushes against the Dallas Cowboys at RFK Stadium circa 1982 in Wasjington, DC. (Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON,DC-CIRCA 1982:John Riggins of the Washington Redskins rushes against the Dallas Cowboys at RFK Stadium circa 1982 in Wasjington, DC. (Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Washington Commanders‘ rebrand has been overshadowed by the latest controversy engulfing Dan Snyder.

While all that’s been going on, Jonathan Allen named Adolf Hitler as a dream dinner guest while interacting with fans on Twitter. Allen later apologized.

Additionally, Washington’s letterman jackets have caused a stir given they give up their merchandising rights to Fanatics years ago and have proceeded to print the new logo on the jacket and sell them on the team website.

Just another week in the life of being a Washington fan, right?

Believe it or not, the unusual storylines kept coming on Thursday when one of the most belvoed players in franchise history, John Riggins, became the latest Washington great to condemn the new nickname.

Suffice it to say this quote will draw mixed reactions from fans.

Washington Football legend John Riggins does not endorse the Commanders nickname.

We have the utmost love and respect for Riggins, who was a major reason the then-Redskins won their first Super Bowl in franchise history in 1982, but this quote really gives off “old man yells at cloud” vibes.

"“I feel completely disenfranchised,” Riggins said on his podcast this week. “I can’t understand how anybody who played under the old franchise name, the original franchise name, could want to be a part of anything Washington Commanders. Like I said, I feel completely disenfranchised. All of a sudden, you’ve entered oblivion.”"

After the former Super Bowl MVP showed respect for the other Washington alumni who’ve been supportive of the organization, he went right ahead and questioned how these former greats — Doug Williams, Dexter Manley, Joe Theismann and Mark Moseley, to name a few — have a differing opinion.

“I kind of look at them and go ‘What’s wrong with you? Don’t you get it? You were invited to your own funeral. But not everybody looks at it that way.”

Clearly, not everyone sees it that way. And comparing the rebrand to a funeral and being disenfranchised? Come on Riggo. The last thing we want to do is talk down on a franchise icon, but these comments are walking a fine line between expressing an opinion and being a sorehead.

Williams, who currently works for Washington, was live on set on the NBC Today Show for the announcement on Feb. 2. The former Super Bowl-winning quarterback was even the one who got to break the news on air, to say nothing of the other prominent alumni members who were on hand at the afterparty.

It seems like Riggo didn’t even try embracing the name.

So much so, in fact, that Riggins’ Commanders jersey has been removed from the team’s online shop after Washington began selling former players’ jerseys sporting the new nickname. We hate to cast aspersions, but this maneuver suggests Riggins asked the team to stop selling his Commanders apparel.

We can’t fault fans who are disheartened by the news. The rebrand was never going to be universally accepted. But the bickering was supposed to unfold amongst fans. Not franchise greats. All we can hope is this group of players eventually comes around to the name, because it’s not going anywhere.

Next. Joe Gibbs and Charles Mann share thoughts on name change. dark