Lorenzo Alexander spent his first six seasons in the NFL with the Washington Redskins. Though going undrafted out of Cal in 2005, and spending a season and a half on practice squads, Alexander was given his first on-field break in 2007 and logged a start later that year. He jumped around from special teams to defensive tackle to offensive guard to tight end.
Almost all of the maturation process — which included a Pro Bowl and an organizational player of the year award — happened there, with the Redskins in Washington.
Now in his second season with the Arizona Cardinals, Alexander has watched from as a distance as the anti-Redskins name debate accelerate in heat.
On Wednesday, the linebacker gave his own perspective of the controversy while a guest of Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
“It’s a hard, sticky situation,” he said at one point in the interview.
But, to Alexander, there’s more complexity than people realize, in that he doesn’t see anything overt about the usage of the name.
“The intent is not for it to be disrespectful at all or for it to be demeaning,” he went on. “The guys that put the uniform on out there aren’t trying to badmouth Native Americans or anything of that sort, nor are the fans, but at the same time, once you’re educated about what the word means, out of respect, I think it does need to be changed.
“Obviously, it’s up to Mr. Snyder whether he wants to do that. He did pay a lot of money for that name and what all that brings to it — the culture and the heritage of it.”
Speaking of the Redskins owner, the much-maligned Daniel Snyder, Alexander seemed to come to the defense of his character.
“I know he loves to win,” he began, rather tellingly of Snyder’s seeming intent to hold the name.
But Snyder, Alexander said, shouldn’t be defined by this dispute.
“Personally, he did a lot for me,” he went on. “Two years ago, my mother-in-law passed away. He put me and my wife on a jet to go out to the funeral and brought us back and did everything (he could) as far as supporting us.
“I got nothing but love and respect for a man like that.”
To Alexander, the Redskins name is unfortunately offensive, but Snyder lacks malice. Treatment of the owner hasn’t been the fairest, the linebacker seems to think.
“Like anything, until you know somebody, it’s hard to really judge somebody,” he said.
The Cardinals play the Redskins on Oct. 12 at University of Phoenix Stadium.