- Mark Ashenfelter, NASCAR
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SPARTA, Ky. -- In the eyes of many, Joe Gibbs was long the face of the Washington Redskins. He coached the team twice, for a total of 16 seasons, leading them to three Super Bowl wins in four appearances.
While many would like to see the team’s name changed, Gibbs isn’t among them. To him, the name is not used in a racially insensitive way.
“I hope not,” he said Saturday at the Kentucky Speedway when asked if he thought the name would be changed. “We’ll see (what happens).”
Gibbs, now the owner of a NASCAR organization that fields Sprint Cup Series cars for drivers Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, followed the team as a child, so the name was a part of his life long before he ever worked for the team.
“I grew up in the hills of North Carolina, and my uncle had the first TV set in our whole little area and about a 110-foot antenna,” Gibbs said. “The only pro football team we could get was the Redskins with Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice and all of them. We used to sit on the bank outside of his home and he’d turn the TV around and we’d watch the game.
“I always loved the Redskins and never thought I’d have the chance to coach them. In the (16) years I coached them ... we never heard anybody say anything negative about the Redskins’ name; it was always prideful, courageous. We have a song; we sing, ‘Hail to the Redskins.’"