ESPN’s Bill Simmons may say “Washington.” ESPN’s Mike Ditka says “Redskins.”
“There’s so much horse$#!+,” the Super Bowl-winning coach and player says of the nickname controversy, “it’s incredible.” In an edited audio interview with Redskins author and superfan Mike Richman, the spirited, sonic Ditka evokes images of him screaming in Doug Flutie’s face nearly three decades ago. The tone and volume, even more so than the words, convey an animated interest in the issue.
“This is so stupid it’s appalling,” the Hall of Famer opines. “And I hope that the owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it. Because the Redskins are a part of American football history. It should never be anything but the ‘Washington Redskins.’ That’s the way it is.”
The player, coach, and broadcaster making his living from the NFL for more than a half century cites the “history” and “tradition” of the league, which he knows well, and the “reverence” the name shows Native Americans, as reasons to keep it. “It’s all the politically correct idiots in America,” he says of the nickname’s opponents. “That’s all it is.”
Ditka’s remarks come in the wake of fellow football broadcasters Phil Simms and Tony Dungy telling the Associated Press that they will avoid saying “Redskins” on the air this season.
“I didn’t think that Lombardi and Halas…had a problem with it,” Ditka maintains. “Why would all these other idiots have a problem with the name? I’m sorry. I’m not very tolerant when it comes to the liberals who complain about everything.”