NBC Sports host Bob Costas has not been shy about offering his take on controversial issues that transcend sports in recent years, and Sunday night he weighed in on the ever-intensifying debate over the Washington football team’s nickname.
Though he doesn’t believe Redskins owner Daniel Snyder or any member of the organization operates with the intent to offend Native Americans, Costas said during halftime of the Redskins-Cowboys game, it is impossible to classify the nickname as anything other than a slur.
“Ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed towards African Americans, Hispanics, Asians or any other ethnic group,” he 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.”
Many high school and college teams have retired names such as Warriors, Braves and Chiefs, but Costas said that he does not have an issue with these because they are meant to “honor, rather than demean” — similar to terms like “Patriots,” “Vikings” and “Cowboys.” He says that it’s names like Redskins and Indians — particularly ones, such as Cleveland’s baseball team, that use questionable imagery — that fall into the category of offensive.
Hear Costas’ full monologue in the video below.