Posted October 14, 2013

Bob Costas on Redskins name: ‘Insult,’ ‘slur’

NFL
Bob Costas said Sunday that the Redskins' name is "undeniably" a slur and an insult. (NBC)

Bob Costas said Sunday that the Redskins’ name is “undeniably” a slur and an insult. (NBC)

NBC’s Bob Costas said Sunday night that the Redskins’ name was “undeniably” a slur and an insult, weighing in on the controversy in a monologue during halftime of Sunday Night Football.

Costas said he didn’t think Redskins owner Dan Snyder or anyone in the organization harbored ill will toward Native Americans. But he added that it’s no excuse for keeping the name.

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“Think for a moment about the term ‘Redskins,’ and how it truly differs from all the others,” he said, rifling off the difference between “Redskins” and team names that he said “honor” Native Americans, like Braves, Chiefs, and Warriors.

“Ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed towards African Americans, Hispanics, Asians or 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.”

Costas became the latest to fuel the fire in a controversy that has reached all the way up to the White House in the past two weeks. Last weekend, President Barack Obama said that he would “think about changing” the team’s name if he was its owner.

“I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.

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Here’s the full transcript of Costas’ monologue, via the Washington Post:

With Washington playing Dallas here tonight, it seems like an appropriate time to acknowledge the ongoing controversy about the name, “Redskins.” Let’s start here: there’s no reason to believe that owner Daniel Snyder, or any official or player from his team, harbors animus towards Native Americans, or chooses to disrespect them. This is undoubtedly also true of the vast majority of those who don’t think twice about the longstanding moniker. And in fact, as best could be determined, even a majority of Native Americans say they are not offended.

But, having stipulated that, there’s still a distinction to be made. Objections to names like Braves, Chiefs, Warriors and the like, strike many of us as political correctness run amuck. These nicknames honor, rather than demean. They’re pretty much the same as Vikings, Patriots, or even Cowboys. And names like Blackhawks, Seminoles and Chippewas, while potentially problematic, can still be okay provided the symbols are appropriately respectful. Which is where the Cleveland Indians, with the combination of their name and Chief Wahoo logo, have sometimes run into trouble.

A number of teams, mostly in the college ranks, have changed their names in response to objections. The Stanford Cardinal and the Dartmouth Big Green were each once the Indians. The St. Johns Redmen are now the Red Storm. And the Miami of Ohio Redskins, that’s right Redskins, are now the RedHawks. 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 towards African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians or 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’s 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?

And here’s video:


157 comments
KateB
KateB

I don't give a damn if there is 'racist intent', or 'racist overtones', I don't care... In fact I hope that that was indeed the original intent. We have to stop kowtowing to the "I'm offended" crowd. You are under no obligation to change anything for a tiny minority. On this issue, the offended indians are the ones with a problem, not the redskins.

Scott77
Scott77

What a bunch of wossies. Get a life already.....

troyohio
troyohio

He is totally wrong. Maybe others have already mentioned but the name was changed from Boston Braves to Boston Redskins in the mid-1930s, and had many Native Americans on the team. And in a valid survey done by University of Penn. a few years ago, 91% of Native Americans said they were fine with the name. As we just saw with the Tea Party, it is a sad day if 9% of the people get to call the shots. Worry about something important, such as whether Indian casinos are giving enough money back to the community.

Matt89
Matt89

The Washington Redskins is a PRIVATE ORGANIZATION they can DO WHAT THEY WANT and the owner has repeatedly said that THEY WILL NOT CHANGE THE NAME. Just give up, Liberals.

MOJO1
MOJO1

So:  Where was Bob, 2, 3, 81 years ago?  Talk about pandering to the boob tube.  Now that it is front page news: he is offended.  What a pathetic "me too".  Bob:  Do something original.

Hendo
Hendo

There was no racist intent when the team was named. There is no racist intent now. I laugh when I hear black people called african-american, yet I'm referred to as white. My skin is nowhere near white. I live on the beach for God's sake. Suck it up people. How has political correctness helped this country and when will it stop?

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

lol look at all the bigots get riled up. What a bunch of losers.

TheRealPlex
TheRealPlex

I say the team name should be changed to something derogatory about the people who died in the Trade Center attacks, then we'll see how conservative America feels about political correctness,

GT500456
GT500456

Once again, Bob Costas is slurping away at the liberal water fountain...

Haddock
Haddock

Name should be changed. It's time.

JoeChevre
JoeChevre

Redskins should be able to keep their name.  It's professional sports not even NCAA.  The President should focus on trying to reopen the government (perhaps try to negotiate) and not meddle in professional sports.  


Slvrgun
Slvrgun

I would love to see the team renamed to the Washington White Crackers. 

ahrcshaw
ahrcshaw

Costa  must have too much time on his hands as he is stepping out of his little circle.  What I want to know is who cares what he thinks.

hugostiglitz
hugostiglitz

how many facelifts has Cosas had?  His face looks like a babies azz

ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

U da man Bob, keep up the good work. It's about time someone stepped up and told it like the way it is, change this racist name asap.

Steve114
Steve114

Is Bob Costas new to football? Did he just learn of the name of the professional football team in DC? This is him jumping on the bandwagon of a topic that is hot. He has tried to use his position in life to input his opinion in the past. Stick to sports Bob. You are good at it. Let people decide for themselves what is right and wrong and not force the liberal agenda on innocent sports fans!

apricot9313
apricot9313

My ancestors hail from Rosebud South Dakota, one of the poorest Indian reservations in United States. I not only disagrees with Mr. Costas regarding the Redskins name but wish he would learn a little bit about the origin and the impact of the name. Redskins, feared by every settler in the United States. That's the name of Washington Redskins represents. Hail to the Redskins!

TeddyBloomquist
TeddyBloomquist

I can't stand Bob Costas, but he makes a good argument. I'm just wondering where all of Bob's vitriol was ten years ago when, you know, it wasn't a hot-button issue. That being said, I'll take Costas over Joe Buck eight days a week.

IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

The Washington Load-Mouthed, Midget Broadcasters.  Perfect replacement name for Redskins.

Choctaw
Choctaw

Oklahoma means redskin in Choctaw... guess we better rename our state. Costa is an idiot

Rob14
Rob14

I'm offended, that you're offended

JackLavelle
JackLavelle

Costas is a pint-sized mountebank. 

RONALDA
RONALDA

Is President Obama going to resign since more than 10 percent of Americans feel he is a disgrace to the country? Grow up folks. If we look hard enough we can find something offensive in anything.

DanielSmith2
DanielSmith2

We definitely overreact as a people. We definitely overdo it often with political correctness. But those two statements being true don't necessarily mean that THIS particular issue correlates with them. 

First of all, if you are a Caucasian (and yes, I'm including you folks running around acting like your 1/16th tribal blood somehow gives you insight), then you have to realize your opinion cannot possibly hold water. While I agree that many times other people carrying a flag for this are essentially grandstanding and do not feel an acute sense of outrage, either, it does not mean that there isn't a significant portion of Native Americans offended. 

And before you trot out the 90% poll of those Native Americans who are fine with it, I'll say -- sure, 90%, I won't try to doubt that figure. But 10% is significant, folks. You wouldn't have a disease that affected 10% of people and say, "Nah, don't bother trying to cure it...90% of people are okay." Polling Redskins fans also won't work -- the inertia of history means people have become used to it, and so won't attach any stigma. 

So, what do you do? First of all, if your initial reaction is that it's fine as is, I'm not going to call you a horrible person or anything. I would say, though, that going onto the internet and looking for items that support your initial reaction isn't exactly educating yourself. Realize that this is a people that already have had major struggles having a voice in this country's history for various reasons, much of it to do with discrimination. 

And finally, those crying out about bigger problems in this country -- well, of course, but that's ALWAYS the case, even in times of prosperity. There is NEVER a time when there won't be bigger issues than this, even if the government wasn't shut down and the economy still hurting. But let me ask you this -- are you doing some big work to support those things that YOU don't have time to talk about this? It's not like we're spending billions or anything on it -- it's a topic of conversation, just as much as discussing RGIII's lack of explosive plays or the Saints revamped defense.

If it bothers you that much, then please, stop being a hypocrite by clicking on the articles and commenting, because that doesn't exactly show your exasperation. 

MauraEmilyWallick-Abel
MauraEmilyWallick-Abel

This is how things get blown out of proportion.  If the Native Americans think its okay....THEN LEAVE IT ALONE. The name has been around for decades. I agree with the the teams owner, keep the name. I'm Irish, they referred to us as Micks..doesn't bother me. I'm Polish, ppl still tell Polish jokes. Doesn't bother me.  Back off. I swear. We have enough to worry about in this country!!!!  Our gov't is shut down. children are going hungry. Unemployment. Talk about all that Bob Costas......

fmfrijoles
fmfrijoles

Costas is a hack.....if he had actually done some actual research on the issue rather than attempt to garner ratings he would have actually learned that the etymology of the word REDSKIN is not a racial slur. If he had actually done his research he would have learned that the team name was not created in any way as a racial slur (The RED in REDSKINS is more of a referral to the Boston RED SOX with whom the team shared Fenway Park at the beginning)


It was actually a term used by Native Americans to refer to themselves until white people (just like Costas) decided to pervert the meaning into something else.

There are many native americans who have absolutely no issue with the team name and there are many native american schools who use the EXACT team name.

This is a case of a minority driving an argument (See the Government shutdown for an example of that)...and a bunch of people who are non-native american taking up a cause that Native Americans could care less about.

If the politically correct out there really want to embrace an issue involving Native Americans.....then embrace ways to help the poverty levels, poor health & living conditions, and education issues on the reservations.

SHOPBOSS
SHOPBOSS

Or the Steelers,offensive to steel workers, to imply that the hard working men of the steel industry are just a team playing a game? My word if Buffalo Bill was alive today,how would he feel. New Orleans, think of all the offended saints there would be after the scandal? And last but not least the animal world for the love of (another word he might call offensive),SHUT UP BOB,plenty of little people have made a positive impact quietly. 

SHOPBOSS
SHOPBOSS

All jokes aside , good job Bob you will not be audited on your taxes this year.

x72
x72

@MOJO1 Might want to change your profile pic. Jim would have agreed with Bob on this.

pk_sea
pk_sea

@TheRealPlex  Most people who died in the World Trade Center attacks were New Yorkers.  Unless you are talking abou the plane that flew into the pentagon.  How about The Washington Pentagons?  

pk_sea
pk_sea

@JoeChevre If Obama had a son, he'd be a redskin...no wait, that's not right.

GT500456
GT500456

@Slvrgun or, perhaps in a nod to Obama, we could name them the Washington HalfBlacks.

ahrcshaw
ahrcshaw

@ElvisHitler And you are? What?  Maybe we should change the name of a Hot Dog!  The problem is simple you guys have nothing to do but look for racist action.  Go join the top two racist in the country, and I will let   you guess their names.

igg114
igg114

@Choctaw  It actually means red people but your point is essentially correct

jcmass
jcmass

@JackLavelle Now THERE'S a good nickname, especially given the City and many of its politicians. The Washington Mountebanks. 

BillRobinson
BillRobinson

@DanielSmith2 One of the few well-reasoned responses. Most are the pseudo-macho nonsense you see so often in football blogs.

billthompsonbaby
billthompsonbaby

@DanielSmith2 That 10% argument was insane. You don't change your brand and name because 10% of the entire public doesn't like it, let alone 10% of 1% of the population. You care what your CUSTOMER thinks. It's not a trivial thing to change your entire company's branding. It costs a lot of money. So in the real world you do a cost/benefit analysis. That's business.

DanielSmith2
DanielSmith2

@MauraEmilyWallick-Abel The poll folks keep referring to said 90% of Native Americans are fine with it...which means 10% don't. If it were up to a vote, sure, the majority can win. But personally, I wouldn't want to do things that offend 10% of anyone -- it's a significant number. The name being around for decades...what does that have to do with it? The nickname was formed in 1932, so it didn't exactly come from an era which was known for racial equality -- women couldn't even vote until 1933 and segregation was still in effect. 

JamesLeCroy
JamesLeCroy

@ahrcshaw @ElvisHitler Your saying the Redskin name is racist? What about your name ElvisHitler? Your not only a dumbass but your a dumbass hypocrite.

jcmass
jcmass

@billthompsonbaby @DanielSmith2 Cost the team a lot of money? Are you kidding? Imagine the sales of new team apparel that fans would be rushing out to buy. They would make far more money than they would lose. 

ohitikta
ohitikta

@DanielSmith2 @MauraEmilyWallick-Abel To be clear, the poll was taken of 1000 Natives from one area.  1000 is not normally a strong representation of a population of 2 million.  Also, keep in mind that 8 of the 10 largest Nations have formally come out and protested this name.

drfooser
drfooser

@DanielSmith2 @MauraEmilyWallick-Abel  

It's a definite double standard that is used to bludgeon those who aren't politically correct. If 10% of white people voted that the Redskin's logo was offensive, white people would be ridiculed because the percentage wasn't higher - that the percentage was ONLY 10%.