CBS has given its announcers the green light to apply the red light to the use of the Washington team name. It sounds like NFL Today and Thursday Night Football host James Brown could be taking Les Moonves up on his offer.
“I firmly believe that this is a people issue,” Brown said at a CBS News symposium, via Scott Allen of the Washington Post. “If, in fact — to me, this is my opinion only, not representing CBS Sports, or News — if the name is offensive to a group of people, then do the right thing and change the name. It’s as simple as that.”
Brown doesn’t buy one of the strongest arguments for keeping the name: That the name has been in place for more than 80 years.
“Yeah, well, the civil rights issue was one where ‘that’s just the way it was’ for a long period of time, right? So that holds no basis and substance to me. Do the right thing,” Brown said.
“You know, a number of years ago, when I was a kid, there was a restaurant chain called Sambo’s, which, as I understand was the last name of two guys who owned the restaurant chain. But it was offensive to black people, so they changed the name, except for the one franchise in California I believe it was. Well, so, if in fact it’s offensive to Native Americans — and there doesn’t have to be unanimity on this, and don’t just have a intractable attitude saying, ‘I’m not going to change’ — that’s wrong as far as I’m concerned. I’ll get in trouble with that, but I stand on principle.”
Brown’s principle will be tested at least once this season, when Washington hosts the Giants on Thursday, September 25. There’s also a 50-percent chance that the Philly-Washington game on Saturday, December 20 will be played in prime time, with Brown serving as the studio host.