The Washington Football Team will apparently be a thing for more than a year, and coach Ron Rivera hopes the football product he’s in charge of helps smooth the way for the coming transition.
During an appearance on CBS This Morning, Rivera said the new placeholder name was part of a larger process, one that was going to take more than a year.
“Truthfully, this is a 16-, 18-month process to do it the right way and not miss the opportunity to rebrand ourselves, hopefully for the next 100 years,” he said.
Asked about the fan reaction to the change, Rivera twice used the now-gone racial slur nickname, saying he grew up a fan of the team. He also had a small football with the logo and an older team helmet on the bookcases behind him.
“I think the thing people have to understand is this is going to be a transition, it’s not going to happen immediately,” Rivera said. “We’re going to try to win the fans over by playing good football more than anything else. When you play well and win football games people get behind you and they support you. And we’ve got to show our fan base we’re the same football team, just a different name right now, a placeholder.
“We’ve got to do things the right way, we’ve got to change the culture of who we are. Not just rebrand the name, but rebrand the style of football we’re going to play and rebrand the way we do things, and that’s probably one of the most important things we have to do right now.”
Rivera also said that at the time he took the job, he was not aware of the problems outlined in last week’s Washington Post report, which detailed allegations of sexual harassment against 15 former female employees. Those charges led to at least three former team employees leaving their jobs. The team has appointed a lawyer to investigate the organization and make recommendations for changes.