As the 2014 NFL regular season approaches, and as a game involving the Washington NFL franchise airs on national television when this item is posted, a pair of prominent national broadcasters plans to avoid uttering the name of the Washington NFL franchise.
Via the Associated Press, Phil Simms of CBS and Tony Dungy of NBC will refrain (or at least try to) from using the name.
It will be somewhat easier for Dungy than Simms. NBC currently doesn’t have a Washington game on the schedule; CBS does, on September 25 against the New York Giants.
“My very first thought is it will be Washington the whole game,” Simms (pictured) told the AP. “I never really thought about it, and then it came up and it made me think about it. There are a lot of things that can come up in a broadcast, and I am sensitive to this.”
It could get a little awkward in the booth, given that Jim Nantz, who works with Simms, plans to use the name because Nantz believes it is “not my job to take a stance.”
“I will personally try not to use Redskins and refer to them as Washington,” Dungy told the Associated Press. “Personal opinion for me, not the network.”
ESPN will continue to use the name. “We use the marks and nicknames as utilized by the teams, leagues and conferences we cover,” the four-letter network said regarding a term that for many has become a four-letter word.
“As long as their nickname is the Redskins, I’ll continue to call them the Redskins,” FOX analyst Troy Aikman said.
I felt that same way until I saw the commercial from the National Congress of American Indians opposing the name. Unless and until someone makes a persuasive case to the contrary, the National Congress of American Indians remains the representative national voice of Native Americans. If the NCAI finds the name to be offensive, that’s enough for me — and for the past several months I’ve been avoiding it wherever I can. (It popped out once today while hosting The Dan Patrick Show.)
That’s not taking a stance. That’s doing what I now think is the right thing to do, even if it will take some time to completely stop using a term that I’ve used ever since I started watching football in the 1970s.