Bob Costas, employed by NBC Sports, entered the fray regarding the name change of the Washington Redskins on Sunday night. The halftime for the NBC Sunday Night game has become a platform for many issues in recent years, and Costas jumped right into the mix, by calling the Redskins team name, “an insult, a slur”. I would have expected nothing less from NBC, which has used their sports sites and popular football site, profootballtalk.com, along with Mike Florio to comment about this on a regular basis. Anyone else noticing how Costas and Florio are starting to morph into each other? They really are starting to look like they are related.
I grew up watching Costas and always liked him as an announcer. His passion for the game of baseball is where his focus should be these days. He never did much football, but I guess the bean counters at NBC corporate need to find a way to get him on the air.
His words on Sunday night-
With Washington playing Dallas here tonight, it seems like an appropriate time to acknowledge the ongoing controversy about the name, “Redskins.” Let’s start here: there’s no reason to believe that owner Daniel Snyder, or any official or player from his team, harbors animus towards Native Americans, or chooses to disrespect them. This is undoubtedly also true of the vast majority of those who don’t think twice about the longstanding moniker. And in fact, as best could be determined, even a majority of Native Americans say they are not offended.
But, having stipulated that, there’s still a distinction to be made. Objections to names like Braves, Chiefs, Warriors and the like, strike many of us as political correctness run amok. These nicknames honor, rather than demean. They’re pretty much the same as Vikings, Patriots, or even Cowboys. And names like Blackhawks, Seminoles and Chippewas, while potentially problematic, can still be okay provided the symbols are appropriately respectful. Which is where the Cleveland Indians, with the combination of their name and Chief Wahoo logo, have sometimes run into trouble.
A number of teams, mostly in the college ranks, have changed their names in response to objections. The Stanford Cardinal and the Dartmouth Big Green were each once the Indians. The St. Johns Redmen are now the Red Storm. And the Miami of Ohio Redskins, that’s right Redskins, are now the RedHawks. Still, the NFL franchise that represents the nation’s capital, has maintained its name.
But think for a moment about the term “Redskins,” and how it truly differs from all the others. Ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed towards African Americans, Hispanics, Asians or any other ethnic group. When considered that way, “Redskins” can’t possibly honor a heritage or noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present day intent.
It’s fair to say that for a long time now, and certainly in 2013, no offense has been intended. But if you take a step back, isn’t it clear to see how offense might legitimately be taken?
While Costas does point out that the majority of Americans aren’t offended, and more importantly, American Indians aren’t offended, he still knows better than you and then attempts to try to make the case for the name to support a name change.
According to a report last week, the Washington Redskins actually changed their name in 1932 while playing in Fenway Park. Originally known as the Boston Braves, the name of the team was changed in order to honor their coach, an American Indian, Lonestar Dietz. But then again, NBC doesn’t want you to know that.
If Mr. Costas was so upset over the name change, he could have forgone his paycheck for the night and made a statement that he wouldn’t work anymore games that his network broadcast featuring the Redskins. If the network finds the logo so offensive, why did they broadcast it in in-screen graphics? They could have simply used the retro “R” logo instead.
Instead, NBC just took the occasion to further their agenda to help move along the political correctness community, while jabbing at Washington owner Daniel Snyder every chance they get, through the internet or on air.
Mr. Costas, sports fans do not watch sporting events on television to be lectured to about politics or the position politically that your bosses want to espouse. And be careful of wading too far into the political arena, did you see what happened to Keith Olbermann’s career? He had to come crawling back to Bristol with his tail between his legs when no one really cared what he had to say about politics either.