Four hours after the Commanders organization defended the progress it has made the past two years, coach Ron Rivera did the same.
Washington hired Rivera in 2020 to help clean up the mess.
The team has changed its name (twice) since Rivera took over as head coach and voice of the franchise, but it has not changed its owner so the stain — and the stench — remains.
Rivera posted a long missive on social media, citing, as the team’s statement did, the changes the team has made the past two years.
“With all due respect to the proceedings, I want to clarify a few things,” Rivera wrote. “When Dan and Tanya Snyder were in the process of hiring me, they asked me to do two things — WIN! and help us change our culture. So to be clear, on Jan. 2, 2020, the day I was hired, we started putting into place tangible protocols in our efforts to correct any inappropriate workplace issues and improve our workplace environment. The Snyders were very deliberate in finding the best person to run the business side, and I was consulted throughout the process. We agreed that Jason Wright was the best person, not because he checked off a box as a minority, but because of his experience as an NFL player, his education and work experience as a partner with McKinsey & Co. Jason has been nothing but exceptional in hiring a talented and diverse group of people to run the business side. Throughout the fall of 2020, the organization saw many new standards put in place and protocols for employees to voice and address any issues, as well as putting an NFC East division winning team on the field. When the Wilkinson report was completed in the spring 2021 on behalf of the NFL, our organization had already put into place or was in the process of implementing the suggestions mentioned in the report.
“These investigations into inappropriate workplace issues pre-dates my employment. I cannot change the past, but I would hope that our fans, the NFL and Congress can see that we are doing everything in our power to never repeat those workplace issues. And know that our employees are respected, valued and can be heard.”
Rivera is the best thing to happen to the franchise in a long time, but as long as Dan Snyder remains the owner of the Commanders, the past isn’t likely to truly be in the past.