Former Washington linebacker London Fletcher was recently a guest on NBC's SportsDash, and he was asked about how he felt about playing for a team that has a racial slur as a name. His response, flagged by DC Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg, was surprisingly honest.
"You know, I spent seven years in Washington and hadn't really thought a whole lot about it until this past season," Fletcher said. "You heard more about it in the news, more things were coming out about it. So I started to really look at it, and started to kind of take hold and get a true understanding of what the word Redskin meant. Get a history lesson, in a sense. And I started feeling a little bit uneasy about it. Voiced my concern to General Manager Bruce Allen, and suggested that Mr. Snyder, the owner, should go and speak with some of the Native Americans, just to get their thoughts on it, to find out how they truly feel about the name."
In the past, Washington players have mostly demurred when asked to give their opinion on the team's name, so it's a pretty big deal that Fletcher was willing to speak about this openly and felt compelled to voice his concerns to the team's GM.
Fletcher's retired, so his words won't do much now, but this is still an encouraging sign for people who want to see Dan Snyder change the name. If other players see that Fletcher, an elder statesman and a respected voice within the league, has a problem with the name, then maybe they won't be so shy about expressing their own dissatisfaction. As has been demonstrated throughout the Donald Sterling saga, player agitation can do a lot to help bring about real change.