The debate over the Washington Redskins team name was again on national display Sunday night with Bob Costas shining the spotlight brightly during a halftime discourse witnessed by tens of millions.
The longtime sportscaster said he felt it appropriate to address the controversy given Washington was appearing on Sunday Night Football against NFC East rivals Dallas Cowboys.
Costas concedes neither Daniel Snyder nor anyone associated with the team intend disrespect toward Native Americans and brought to focus a long-standing poll that shows most Americans don’t have an issue with the name. Another poll mentioned the majority of Native Americans also have no problem with the moniker.
However, Costas says unlike team names such as “Braves,” “Chiefs,” and “Warriors,” the name “Redskins” does not honor a heritage. Instead, he says it is disparaging.
Even teams names such as “Blackhawks,” “Seminoles,” and “Chippewas,” are respectful according to Costas. The Cleveland Indians can fall into a gray area thanks in large part to their “Chief Wahoo” logo.
After pointing out a number of colleges have changed their monikers in response to public outcries, he laid into the Snyder-owned franchise.
The following is a transcript of some of Costas’ remarks.
“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 toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of 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 is 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?”