Former Washington Redskin AJ Francis knocks team on Instagram; calls nickname 'racist'

- Former Washington Redskin A.J. Francis told FOX 5 that he felt a certain level of disrespect from his former team after he was unceremoniously released earlier this week - a fact that he made clear with a post on social media that also touched on the team's nickname controversy.

The defensive tackle was let go by the Redskins earlier this week and signed with the New York Giants several days later. In an Instagram post from May 2, Francis posted a photo of himself laughing with the caption: "When the team you were on didn't appreciate you but the team you played against actually pays attention to the film..." He accompanied the post with several hashtags including one that read: #AndYourLogoIsRacist.

During an interview with FOX 5, Francis expressed his gratitude for many within the Redskins organization but said some never gave him the respect he believed he deserved. "I was on that team for two years. I never met with Bruce Allen one time," he told us regarding his experience with the team's General Manager. He said that his release came without explanation.

Francis also recounted a story that he said made clear to him the impact that the team's nickname has on others. He said that while on the road with the team he stopped in a restaurant while wearing a Redskins sweatshirt with the logo on it. Francis said a Native American man, who wore a Vietnam veteran hat, approached him and said to him, "I understand you don't have any say on what the team is called. But understand how you represent my people when you wear that on your chest walking around here."

"That struck a chord with me," the former Redskin said. Francis told FOX 5's Steve Chenevey that he held beliefs that the team's logo was racist before he joined and while he played for the team. He told Chenevey he even discussed the issue during one of his podcasts.

Francis appeared on FOX5 Morning with rapper Mike D'Angelo and producer Gracious Keyz to promote a charity basketball event that will benefit Sarah's House, a homeless shelter near the Fort Meade Army installation. The Champs vs Stars Charity Basketball Game will pit a team featuring Francis, D'Angelo, Keyz and others like University of Maryland star and former Baltimore Raven Torrey Smith, against a team of Anne Arundel County regional champions.


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