Bob Costas found himself in a controversy over the nature of the Washington Redskins’ name, which has stirred debate amid the NFL team’s refusal to change its moniker.
During his half-time essay segment during NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecast of the Redskins-Dallas Cowboys game, Bob Costas parsed the uproar over the Redskins and other sports franchise names that have been seen as insensitive in the modern era to various minority groups.
Bob Costas noted that some teams have adjusted their names over the years in light of modern-day sensitivities, including other teams dubbed “Redskins”, a derogatory term for Native Americans.
The NBC Sports anchor, an influential voice in the sports world, acknowledged that the name is used with “benign” intent in the present day by the team and its owner, Daniel Snyder. But he left no doubt about his reasoning on why there is a public campaign to pressure the team to change the name.
“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 toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group,” Bob Costas said.
“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 is 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?”
Robert Quinlan “Bob” Costas, 61, is on the air for NBC Sports television since the early 1980s.
He has been prime-time host of a record 9 Olympic games.
He also does play-by-play for MLB Network as well as hosting an interview show called Studio 42 with Bob Costas.