Bob Costas is throwing his hat into the ring in the Washington Redskins name change debacle. The sportscaster took a moment during halftime in a game between the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys to give his take on the controversy.
Costas begins by explaining that he doesn’t think anyone associated with the team wishes to disrespect Native Americans, but notes that the name does just that. He’s also very careful to explain why lumping in the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Braves with the Redskins isn’t a proper comparison. “These nicknames honor, rather than demean,” he says.
He then runs through a list of colleges that have changes their mascots after they were determined to be offensive, including Miami of Ohio University, who were once known as the Redskins. Even still, Costas points out that the NFL team representing the nation’s capital won’t consider a change.
“Ask yourself what the equivalent would be, if directed toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group,” Costas says. “When considered that way, Redskins can’t possibly honor a heritage, or noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term.”
Wrapping up his comments, Costas says, “It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent.” He’s reiterated that he doesn’t believe the team means any harm. However, he poses the question, “If you take a step back, isn’t it clear to see how offense might legitimately be taken?”
The NFL has agreed to meet with the Oneida Indian Nation about the team name, after the tribe held a symposium in Washington, D.C.