Washington's NFL franchise announced on Monday that it would no longer use the "Redskins" name. This decision prompted a considerable number of reactions, and now NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. has voiced his opinion. The diehard Washington fan said that he is "ready for a new chapter" in team history.
Earnhardt made the comments during the most recent episode of his podcast, The Dale Jr. Download. He said that he is "all for" the change and that he's tired of the conversation. Earnhardt said that the state of the franchise and the lack of success play a role in his reaction to this decision. The team hasn't won a Super Bowl since the 1991 season, and the retired driver is ready to watch Washington find more success under a different monicker.
"It's a dark cloud over it all the time, and it's not going away," Earnhardt said. "And, it's hard to continue to support the franchise when this is part of the conversation. So, I'm great to break completely clean and start an entirely new identity and future. I think it will be great for the organization, the people that work in that company, the players that play for that team and anybody that plays for that team in the future. So, I'm good with it."
Earnhardt, who is a self-proclaimed Washington fan, previously explained how he kept up with his favorite team during his full-time Cup Series career. He said that the games started about an hour before the NASCAR races, so he would spend the time checking his fantasy lineup and then grabbing cell phones to keep up with the scores. Additionally, Earnhardt said that he would take time during cautions and quiet moments of the track to ask his team for score updates.
The NASCAR driver-owner also explained that his mom was the biggest influence on his fandom. She lived in Virginia and supported the team, and she passed that on to her son through gifts of jerseys or other memorabilia. Earnhardt said that there were no NFL teams in North Carolina when he was growing up, and he watched Washington win the Super Bowl when he was "young and impressionable."
Earnhardt's love for the team has remained despite decades of frustration, but now he can look forward to the future. The NFL franchise will have a new nickname and logo as they enter the 2020 season. Earnhardt said that he is ready for this change and expressed happiness about breaking free of the difficult conversation.