Bob Costas: Redskins Name 'an Insult, a Slur'

During halftime of NBC's Sunday Night Football telecast of the NFC East battle between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, sports anchor Bob Costas again interjected himself into a political issue, saying the Redskins name cannot honor a heritage or a "noble character trait" and is an "insult" and a "slur."

Costas, who politicized gun control after the tragic murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher last year, said the Redskins name "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," Costas said. "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?"

Costas said it seemed like an "appropriate time" to acknowledge the controversy about the "Redskins" name. 

After conceding that there is "no reason to believe that [Redskins] owner Daniel Snyder, or any official or player from his team, harbors animus toward Native Americans or wishes to disrespect them" and that even a majority of Native Americans may not be offended, Costas said there is "still a distinction to be made" after "having stipulated that." 

He said that objections to names like "Braves," "Chiefs," and "Warriors" strike a lot of Americans as "political correctness run amok" and said those names "honor, rather than demean" and are like "Cowboys," "Patriots" "Seminoles" or "Blackhawks." He then noted colleges like Stanford, Dartmouth, St. John's, and Miami of Ohio that have changed nicknames. 

"Still, the NFL franchise that represents the nation’s capital has maintained its name," Costas said. "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."


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