The Washington Redskins name change affects one group of people in a way the rest of us can only imagine … Redskins players, past and present. One of them, from Bakersfield, has strong opinioons.
Meet Joe Hernandez, a member of the Kern County Bob Elias Hall of Fame who played wide receiver for the Redskins in the early 1960s. Drafted in 1962 by both the Redskins and Oakland Raiders, back before the AFL-NFL merger, Hernandez also played in the Canadian Football League for another team named for an indigenous people — the Edmonton Eskimos, where he was an all-star defensive back for two seasons.
But he has always followed the Redskins. And this hurts, he said.
“Why are we so angry in America?” Hernandez said. “I think that (Redskins name) is a good thing. I, as a Mexican, I’m proud of being a Mexican, and I’ve had my discrimination in my day but I didn’t let that bother me.”
Hernandez says he believes most of his old teammates would feel the same way.
“No, I’ll be a Redskins fan forever,” Hernandez said. “But I’m not going to be a Washington Cougars fan when they change that name. I’m a Redskin forever but not a Washington whatever they’re going to be.”
And that’s what the team formerly known as the Redskins is up against — fans love the accoutrements of tradition — and now this team needs to try to start a new tradition. They can count Joe Hernandez out.