WASHINGTON - Following a loss to the undefeated Carolina Panthers, one Washington Redskins player vented, saying he felt the team’s nickname may have had something to do with controversial calls that went against them.
Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher spoke to reporters in the locker room following the 44 –16 loss. During the game, the Redskins had a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Chris Culliver called back on a drive when officials ruled he had delivered an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on a Carolina receiver before the interception.
"It’s gonna be hard. We’re fighting against teams and referees," Hatcher said.
"I don't know if it's about the name or what, but – you know - at the same time, we play football, too. We work our butt off, too. Don't single us out. At the end of the day it’s the name - don't worry about the name -- we're players and we work our butts off, too. So I'm just frustrated with it," he continued.
The Panthers scored 27 points off five Washington turnovers, three of those by quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Redskins have lost nine straight games on the road.
In his weekly press conference on Monday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden indicated Hatcher's comments were likely out of frustration at the team's performance on the field.
"We have to recover from those things. They happen. Calls that go against you happen in the course of a football game and in the course of a season, and we have to rebound from them like every other team in the NFL does," Gruden said.
When asked about how he felt after several other players from the team made comments on social media about Hatcher's feelings, Gruden said he'll be addressing those comments in a team meeting.
"To point the finger at an official for our loss yesterday probably isn't right because we lost by 30," Gruden said. "Those two plays did make a big difference in the football game, but there's a lot of things we did as a coaching staff and as a team that weren't good enough to win in Carolina against an undefeated team."
Controversy has surround the team’s nickname. In July, a federal judge ordered the cancellation of its federal trademark registrations.