During halftime of the nationally-televised Sunday night football game between Dallas and Washington, NBC Sports anchor Bob Costas urged the audience to consider the connotations of the name “Redskins,” and called the term a slur.
Washington, D.C.’s football team has been at the center of an ever-growing debate over their insistence on using a word considered by many to be a racial slur towards Native Americans as their team name and mascot, and Costas addressed the issue head-on Sunday night.
“Ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed toward African-Americans. Hispanics. Asians. Or members of any other ethnic group. When considered that way, “redskins” can’t possibly honor a heritage or noble character trait,” said Costas. “Its an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present day intent.”
Native American tribes have forcefully condemned the term and the team, staging protests and calling on other NFL teams to drop their use of the word even when Washington plays them on the road. Several news organizations and sports reporters have also stopped using the word when reporting on the team. And even President Obama has weighed in, saying that the team should think about changing the name.
Bob Costas has made something of a habit out of using the huge megaphone that the halftime of a nationally-televised Sunday night football game represents. Last season, the week after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend and then took his own life in front of his coach in the Chiefs parking lot, Costas spoke passionately about the role that guns and gun violence played in the tragedy and the need for reforms of the country’s lax gun laws.