Given choice, Rypien probably wouldn't change Redskins' name

(Photos courtesy of Washington Redskins)

Talk of Fame Network

Former Washington quarterback Mark Rypien admits it’s such a tough call he can see both sides of the argument. But, he conceded, if he were to own the Redskins and had to make a choice, he probably wouldn’t change the team’s nickname.

“I played for that team, and there’s a respect for what we did and how we did it,” he said on the Talk of Fame Network’s latest radio broadcast. “I get the other side. There are arguments for both sides. It’s such a tough question to answer, but I played for that team. I respected that brand that was on there. I respected that logo that was on there and (I respected) the Native American heritage.

“I do a lot of work for my foundation (the Rypien Foundation, a premier provider of hope for families battling childhood cancer), and one of our biggest donors is the Kalispel tribe of Indians that have been so great to our community here and have been great to many communities in the area as far as raising money.”

In the past, Rypien mistakenly was identified as having a Native-American background, with some persons calling for his response to Washington’s nickname. But he’s of Polish and Czech descent which, as he said, “is where I get my high cheekbones.” Nevertheless, he didn’t shy away from answering what he thought of the controversy surrounding his former club’s nickname.

“There’s probably good reason to change it,” he said. “(But) there are a lot of people who have history behind it. There are 32 organizations that could help the Native American communities in each of their areas by doing something financially, monetarily, for our Native American people.

“If the name is changed, it all of a sudden goes down to the bottom page, and nobody wins in this situation. The name changes, the history of the Redskins is never going to be there, the emphasis of what we did – the courage and competitiveness and drive and being a part of the community -- is not there.

“The name is going to change all this awareness. And all this help for the Native (American) people will be at the bottom page of the newspaper, and it will be gone away. So since it is here, and it is heightened right now, I think all 32 teams should invest in this … and the NFL should invest in this … and make an impact in the Native (American) communities in each city.”