When Ron Rivera took over as the Washington Football Team’s head coach in early January, he inherited a squad who was coming off a dismal 3-13 season. To make matters worse, Washington’s best player at the time, Trent Williams, wanted out.
Over the past seven months, Washington’s franchise has been in the news plenty, and mostly for bad reasons. The team’s name controversy took off in July, which resulted in the franchise officially retiring the name ‘Redskins’ and logo. Days later, the Washington Post released a story detailing 15 former female employees who said they were sexually harassed by multiple team executives.
While Rivera just arrived in January, he was the one who immediately spoke on behalf of the organization on these issues. So, if the head coach ever had even taken a step back over the past few months and wondered, ‘What did I get myself into?’, that would have been completely fair.
Rivera has already said he has no regrets about taking the Washington job. In an exclusive interview with The Athletic’s Ben Standig on Monday, the head coach asked the press to do their part in helping the organization move forward.
“So to me to have these things go on, that’s okay. All right, that’s fine. But we’re going to get past that. Okay, we’re gonna get past that,” Rivera told Standig. “And Ben it’s guys like you and (other local reporters) that could help us. Write all the bad articles now, get all the past out of the way. But as we start going forward, write about where we are and where we’re going. Help push us forward.”
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Rivera did not try to downplay the severity of the situation, either. He knows that what went on with the personnel execs was far from okay.
However, the head coach wants everyone to judge his team on what they do in the future, not what happened in the past. That’s fair. After all, he wasn’t in the building nor responsible for what has happened in the past.
“I get it. There are some things that were totally F’d up,” Rivera said. “Okay, but let’s stop telling everybody that everything’s F’d up and start saying to everybody, ‘Hey, look, what they’re trying to do. Look how they’re trying to fix it.’”
Additionally, Rivera doubled down on his comments that he doesn’t regret taking the job, saying he felt the organization needed someone to come in and lead them. He emphasized, once again, that he still really likes Washington’s young core, too. Joining an organization with a ‘coach-centric’ approach, similar to the ones in Kansas City, New England and New Orleans, is something Rivera is still plenty excited about.
So, while the recent events that have transpired in Washington would likely throw off many other coaches, Rivera remains committed to turning around the franchise.
“I just look at this, and I think to myself, this is an opportunity, and that not too many things are gonna dampen my spirit about this, Rivera said. “I know it’s going to be hard. Believe me. This is not all roses. And it hasn’t been all roses. There’s been a lot of thorns, but that’s all part of it.”
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