Finally: Bob Costas weighs in on Redskins name controversy
posted at 8:01 am on October 14, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Thanks to a long and wonderful day with my granddaughters, I didn’t get a chance to watch the
RedskinsBarrycaders-Cowboys game until well after halftime, and it turned out to be much as I predicted (which is rare enough this season, I grant you). I didn’t get to see the Steelers win their first game over the Jets, either. All of that was balanced by not having to sit through this rehash of a lecture from Bob Costas, who took two and a half minutes of halftime to tell the NBC audience absolutely nothing it already hadn’t heard repeatedly in the naming controversy in Washington (via Twitchy):
Here is the transcript from the Washington Post. See if you can find an original thought in it:
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?
The Post’s Sarah Kogod offers this little dig at the end:
If you made it through all of those words, reward yourself with a cookie.
Costas went on to offer the URL for NBCSports’ dedicated “Redskins nickname” page, because of course they have that.
Frankly, I don’t have an opinion on this topic, except to say that the opposing arguments have clearly been delineated, and have been for years. I am not a Native American, and don’t particularly feel the need to take offense on their part; I figure that Native Americans can express themselves perfectly well on that issue themselves, if they do take offense. I’m also not a Washington
Redskins Barrycaders fan. Not only did Costas not say anything new, he didn’t even have the nerve to actually take a stand. He just meanders around for two and half minutes like a tourist through a debate museum, and then finishes by saying in essence, “Hey, maybe they had a point!”
I’ll tell you what does offend me — that this was necessary:
A rally with appearances from conservative stars Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz escalated into a tense situation Sunday, as veterans protesting the government shutdown clashed with police, taking down barricades blocking the closed World War II Memorial and dumping them outside the White House.
The group, upset with the closure of memorials in Washington due to the shutdown stalemate, was organized by the Million Vet March, but it soon took on a more political tone. …
Members of the Million Vet March planned on gathering at the World War II Memorial on Sunday despite the memorial being closed due to the government shutdown.
According to a statement on the group’s website, they feel military personnel and veterans are “being used a political pawns in the ongoing government shutdown and budget crisis.” Organizers say they are not a political leaning group, but call the shutting down of memorials “a despicable act of cowardice.”