A Public Relations Nightmare
ROBERT KLEMKO: You have said you were honored to represent Native Americans with Washington’s team name. Do you believe it will eventually be changed?
JOE THEISMANN: I don’t know if the Redskins’ name will change anytime soon. There are people on both sides, obviously. You have to recognize and understand the sensitivity of words. If enough people find that term offensive, then at some point there will be a change.
KLEMKO: Is RG3 a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback?
THEISMANN: We focus so much on the QB position and say this type of individual can get us to the Super Bowl, when in truth you need a solid, steady offensive line, you need to stay healthy, and you need a functional quarterback. One of the big keys to the Redskins was that [right tackle] Tyler Polumbus was the only one to miss games. Look at teams in the playoffs and look at the number of starts the lines have together, you’ll see a correlation. You can have a Peyton Manning, a Tom Brady, a Drew Brees, an Aaron Rodgers, but unless you have somebody upfront giving you a chance to do your job, it’s not going to get done. That said, I think the onus is on Robert to keep himself healthy. The No. 1 responsibility of a quarterback is to keep himself available to play. He knows what he needs to do and he’s smart enough to understand his value.
KLEMKO: How did the Internet change the experience for today’s athletes?
THEISMANN: I was talking with a couple of old teammates about this the other day. Can you imagine how much trouble we would have been in if social media existed when we played? People with cell phones? The pictures that would be out there? We would have been a public relations nightmare. You couldn’t hire a PR guy for the guys I played with. You take any great team from my day—the Raiders, the 49ers, the Giants, the Bills, the Redskins—any group of those guys, and if social media existed then, those teams would be 24/7 trying to put out fires. I’m thrilled for the guys today, economically, but they don’t know what it’s like to have the freedom to go out and have a good time.