Bob Costas: You'd Be Offended by 'Redskins' - If You'd Just 'Think for a Moment'

October 14, 2013 - 1:05 PM

After using an NFL halftime show to attack the Second Amendment last December, Bob Costas turned his sights on the First Amendment during last night's Redskins-Cowboys game.

Costas used his platform on the nationally televised NFL game - not to discuss football - but to voice his indignation at the Washington "Redskins" team name.

He began by admitting that the team intends no insult to Native Americans, and that even Native Americans themselves don't mind the name:

"There's no reason to believe that owner Dan Snyder, or any official or player from his team harbors animus towards Native Americans or wishes to disrespect them. This is undoubtedly also true of the vast majority of those who don't think twice about the long-standing moniker. And, in fact, as best as can be determined, even a majority (90 percent, apparently) of Native Americans says they're not offended."

Then came the lecture.

"But, having stipulated that, there's still a distinction to be made," Costas declared, launching into a list of teams with what he deemed less problematic names that changed their names in order to avoid risking offense.

Costas then argued that the people who don't mind the "Redskins" name would actually realize that it's "an insult, a slur" and be offended - if they'd just bother to "think for a moment":

"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 toward African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group.

"When considered that way, 'Redskins' can't possibly honor a heritage or a 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 easy to see how offense might legitimately be taken?"

So:

  • A "vast majority" of people intend no insult and aren't offended,
  • A "majority of Native Americans says they're not offended,"
  • Owner Dan Snyder and the entire Redskins organization don't harbor or intend any disrespect

But, if people would just "think for a moment," they'd "see how offense might legitimately be taken" - that "It's an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent."

And, what's with the benign "present-day intent" qualifier - as if the team, at its creation, might have chosen to call itself a name that was actually intended to be self-loathing?

So, it seems, it doesn't matter how you mean it - it matters how someone else interprets it...even if that someone else isn't a membered of the supposedly offended group.

In any case, Sean Hannity doesn't go on the NFL channel to preach about the deficit, so why should football fans have to be brow-beaten by Costas over the name "Redskins"?