The Washington Redskins announced in a press release yesterday that Bruce Allen is now president of the team. The announcement comes three days after Allen penned a response to the letter by 50 US Senators to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demanding the team change its name. Allen signed his response letter in the capacity as president of the organization. In the announcement of Allen’s promotion, team owner Daniel Snyder reiterated that he “thinks the world” of Allen and giving him both titles of general manager and team president is “appropriate.”
The response to the senators written by Allen suggests that polling shows 90 percent of Native Americans are not offended by the team nickname. He also said that the team logo was developed by his father, George Allen, with input from Native Americans. Snyder has been adamant in saying he will not succumb to pressure and change the team name. The team recently announced the formation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation in order to assist tribes around the nation. Snyder has opined that Native Americans need actions instead of words to help their plight.
Since the departure of Mike Shanahan, Allen has been the lead figure in personnel matters for the team. Allen conducted the search for a head coach which resulted in the hiring of Jay Gruden. Perhaps he thought the team could catch lightning in a bottle twice, as the team previously hired a rising offensive coordinator named Joe Gibbs. Team fans hope that Gruden starts off his head coaching career better than Gibbs. The now iconic figure in Washington began as an unpopular choice when the Skins commenced the 1981 season 0-5. Newly named Washington Redskins President Bruce Allen led the way in developing the team’s draft strategy in which the team traded down to acquire a second third round pick to help fill out the roster and he was also the man in charge of signing free agents DeSean Jackson and Jason Hatcher. However the 2014 season pans out, the result will have a Bruce Allen stamp on it.
One strategy the team appears to have adopted to become friendlier to its fans is raising the media profile of star running back Alfred Morris. The former sixth round pick out of FAU first became a media favorite in his successful rookie year for his play on the field and also for his frugality. While many professional athletes show their newfound success with expensive rides, Morris drove to Redskins Park every day in a 1991 Mazda. The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation will host a “Movies with Morris” event on June 4. The hardworking running back was pleased and excited one of the attendees will be Matthew McConaughey, who happens to be a Redskins and Alfred Morris fan. The team needs a friendly goodwill ambassador now after the disastrous 2013 season and the daily media bad news from the last days of the Shanahan era.
The Washington Redskins naming Bruce Allen as the team president probably does not change much if anything regarding the day to day operations of the team. Allen has been in charge of personnel matters since the departure of Mike Shanahan. Hopefully, the team will speak with one voice again with little of the turmoil that marked the 2013 season.
Commentary by William Costolo