Redskins coach applauds player protests, will support kneeling players
Redskins’ head coach Ron Rivera says he is proud of his community and members of his team for the way they’ve responded to the death of George Floyd and the recent protests.
"I was especially proud of two of our young players: Dwayne Haskins and Chase Young," Rivera said during a press availability via Zoom on Wednesday. "Dwayne headed into D.C. last weekend to take part in the protests and gain a better understanding of how he can make a difference. Chase took part in the call to action video that some of the top players in our league created last week. Their message was powerful and one that every fan of this league should support."
"The whole decision to go to D.C. was just, I feel like everybody in this day and age likes to just talk and I wanted to be about action, I wanted to go down there and be a part of the difference," added Haskins. "It was my first protest ever, I never thought I’d ever be able to actually go to a protest especially in this day and age, so it was just crazy to be there."
Rivera also announced several initiatives the team will launch. The head coach is starting a town hall program that will allow all employees of the organization to voice their concerns about issues. The goals of the town halls are to allow employees to share experiences, build camaraderie with each other and find ways on how to make their communities safer for African-Americans. Rivera says that Dan Snyder has pledged $250,000 to kick-start the program.
The team will also start the Washington Redskins Black Engagement Network, which Rivera says will strengthen the team's commitment to black employees through professional development, career management, networking, and will create an inter-cultural understanding of black employees. B.E.N will also work with leaders across the D.C. metro area to provide support, education and racial equality initiatives.
Rivera also says that he'll support his players who opt to kneel during the national anthem. The head coach credits one of his former players, Eric Reid, for helping him better understand the protest, and has researched things such as the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Oath of Office to get a clearer picture.
“I am going to be supportive,” the head coach said. “I know Mr. Snyder has told me, you have to communicate it, you have to make sure that the players understand that you understand them, that they know what you want. Because of that, that’s why I’m the one talking. I’m the one that’s out there, and so, again, I am supportive of our players and I want our players to understand that and we'll go from there."