Hall of Fame NFL player John Riggins isn’t a fan of the new Washington Commanders name. He doesn’t want his name to be a part of the jerseys.
There’s no denying that John Riggins is a legend as far as Washington football is concerned. The 1992 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee spent nine seasons with the franchise and even won a Super Bowl with them back in 1983 against the Miami Dolphins. As a matter of fact, it was Riggins, the team’s star rusher, who was named the Super Bowl XVII MVP. He scored the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
It goes without saying that John Riggins has a deep love for Washington football. But after the team recently changed its name to the Washington Commanders, it has been hard for him to get behind it. He explained as much in a recent episode of his podcast, The John Riggins Show.
“I feel completely disenfranchised,” Riggins said. “I cannot for the life of me — this is me, John Riggins, talking here — I can’t understand how anybody who once played under the old franchise name, the original franchise name, could possibly want to be a part of anything with ‘Washington Commanders.'”
New Washington Commanders Name Makes John Riggins Feel ‘Filthy’
John Riggins explained that he knew the name change was coming, as did all other NFL fans. It was just a matter of time before an official name was chosen by the team. Now that the Washington Commanders name is official, Riggins says that it makes him feel “filthy” to see his name on a jersey of a team he didn’t play for.
“That makes me feel filthy. I feel dirty, I don’t want anything to do with it,” he admitted. “Maybe I will change. Maybe I need a little more time, I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel right to me.”
Some of Riggins’ old teammates are also a part of the new jerseys. That’s something the former star runner can’t quite understand.
“I look at them and go, ‘What’s wrong with you? Don’t you get it?'” Riggins said on his podcast. “You were invited to your own funeral.’ But not everybody looks at it that way.”
After spending nine years playing for Washington and even winning a Super Bowl, it is obviously hard for John Riggins to let the past go. With that being said, he was never against changing the name.
“Before all this, I always felt like it was a term of honor. But then I realized well, I’m not a Native American. There’s some that don’t have a problem with it, there’s some that are offended.”
Riggins was never against a name change, but after seeing it actually happen, it’s clear his feelings have changed.