ESPN: Reporters Have Permission Not to Use 'Redskins'

A day after Keith Olbermann called on ESPN to ban the use of "Redskins" and other prominent analysts expressed reservations about using the football team's nickname on air, ESPN announced on Saturday that if its employees want to refer to the Washington Redskins as the Washington football team, the network will allow them to do so. 

ESPN had recently considering banning the use of Washington's nickname in the past, as Breitbart Sports reported.

"Our consistent company policy will continue: using official names and marks as presented by the teams, leagues and conferences we cover," ESPN said in a Saturday statement. "We do, however, recognize the debate over the use of 'Washington Redskins' and have afforded individuals the opportunity to decide how they will use those words when reporting on the team."

Announcers on other networks like Phil Simms and Tony Dungy have said they may not use "Redskins" on the air. And ESPN NFL analysts Tom Jackson and Chris Carter also have indicated that they may follow Dungy's lead. The Washington Post's editorial board said they would ban the use of "Redskins." Mike Ditka, another ESPN analyst, said that the debate over the Redskins name is "so stupid it's appalling."

"Our consistent company policy will continue: using official names and marks as presented by the teams, leagues and conferences we cover," ESPN said in a Saturday statement. "We do, however, recognize the debate over the use of 'Washington Redskins' and have afforded individuals the opportunity to decide how they will use those words when reporting on the team."

Announcers like Phil Simms and Tony Dungy have said they may not use "Redskins" on the air. And ESPN NFL analysts Tom Jackson and Chris Carter also have indicated that they may follow Dungy's lead. The Washington Post's editorial board said they would ban the use of "Redskins." Mike Ditka, another ESPN analyst, said that the debate over the Redskins name is "so stupid it's appalling."

On Friday's "Mike and Mike" radio program on ESPN, Tom Jackson told substitute host Chris Carter his final thought on the matter is, "I don’t have the right to tell Native Americans what’s insulting to them. I don’t have the right to do that. And I don’t think that anybody’s who’s not Native American can tell Native Americans what’s insulting to them."

“So quite frankly, when I hear Daniel Snyder or I hear the commissioner of the National Football League say that the term is something that they are using to honor Native Americans, if Native Americans feel that way, so be it,” Jackson continued, according to the Washington Post. “But if they feel that it’s an insult, then it’s an insult. I really commend [former official] Mike Carey for doing what he did. That had to be a difficult thing."

Carter said that Jackson was his mentor and they have been thinking about how to deal with what is such a tough subject to them and, without referring to the team as the "Redskins," asked Jackson, "How are we going to go about treating Daniel Snyder and the Washington… in moving forward?"


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