SPARTA, Ky. — Count former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs among those who has no problem with the team’s name.
The NFL team that Gibbs led to three Super Bowl titles in the first of two stints as coach has been heavily criticized for its nickname that’s viewed as derogatory toward Native Americans. A group of U.S. senators and President Barack Obama have suggested it should be changed, which team owner Daniel Snyder vehemently refuses.
Asked about the controversy before the NASCAR race Saturday at Kentucky Speedway, the Hall of Fame coach and racing team owner defended the Redskins name.
“Never once did I hear anybody ever say anything negative about the name Redskins,” Gibbs said about his time with the team. “It was always prideful, it was courage involved. We have a song, ‘Hail to the Redskins,” and so everything, everything, about that name has been positive for me and my past.”
Growing up in North Carolina, Gibbs said the Redskins were the only NFL team on TV and that he “pulled for them my whole life” and said he never dreamed of coaching them from 1981-92 and again from 2004-07.
Washington won Super Bowls in the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons. Gibbs also became a NASCAR team owner during that period and has gone on to win three Sprint Cup titles as well as the 1993 Daytona 500.