by Ryan Meehan
During Sunday Night’s presentation of the Cowboys/Redskins game, Bob Costas did a piece during halftime about the Washington Redskins and the debate that is going on about whether their name should be changed. The piece was relatively impartial and informative. He was actually doing a decent job of staying neutral for a while there, but you just knew there was some bullshit coming and here it was:
“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…”
Okay, first of all…no. I can prove to you that is not the case. Let’s take a few minutes to break this down. Let’s say for the case of this example that there were a professional sports team who had the ethnic slur usually associated with African-Americans as their team nickname and they were based out of New York City. Hold the entire name of that team in your mind right now. Now, say that there is another hypothetical sports team that uses the nickname of the slur that is applied to Hispanics and that team is based out of San Jose. See where I’m going with this one as well? Not Enough? How about the last example…people of Asian descent. Think about the slur that’s associated with that one, and for the sake of alliteration let’s just say that team is based out of Chicago. Now that you have those three names in your head, let me ask you the following question:
Is there any possible way that the name “Washington Redskins” is nearly as offensive as the names in those three examples?
If you can control your urinary functions, aren’t on antipsychotics, and you have to park in the same parking spots I do when I go to the grocery store…there is almost no way that you can look me in the eye and tell me that it is. I don’t fucking care what kind of argument that you can present to me, very early on in you stating your case I will probably stop listening and just assume there are some people on this earth that will never get it and you’re one of them. I will go on with my life assuming that the rest of us are going to be fine, and you are going to continue to drink out of the toilet for the rest of your life.
Second of all…if this ends up being a slippery slope, when will it end? I guarantee you that if the Redskins end up changing their name, it will only be a matter of time before someone takes a long hard look at that Cleveland Indians logo and says…”Hey wait a minute…Why is the Indian smiling? Is it because he’s drunk? That’s a negative stereotype of Native Americans!!! I’m offended!”
And then shit is really going to hit the fan. (Editors’ note: We shouldn’t have to apologize if we have offended shit or fans. Or fans that spray shit.) And for the record, let’s remember that almost none of these concerns are being voiced by any of the people in these particular ethnic groups. These “issues” are being communicated by white people who are looking to use this as a stepping stone for their own personal gain, which is usually their own political future. And if you don’t think for one second that a politician won’t use that as a bully pulpit to attain a higher office, you haven’t learned a goddamned thing in the two hundred and thirty plus years this gas station of a country has been in business.
Lastly, I know that the name Redskins isn’t offensive enough for it to be changed because it hasn’t been changed already. The Washington Redskins franchise has been around since 1932. In that time, we have seen the American Civil Rights Movement, integration in baseball (the most racist sport in the history of competition), the multi-platinum success of The Village People, and we currently have an African-American president. Don’t fucking try to tell me for one second that we haven’t had a chance to address the whole “Washington Redskins” issue…
Although I don’t see that Costas personally stands to gain from making such claims made public, it certainly makes his bosses at NBC happy. But let’s remember that the people at the NBC Networks have some very interesting viewpoints when it comes to life in general, which include but are not limited to the following…
- Obama can’t make any mistakes, ever
- Tina Fey is funny
- Tracy Morgan is funny
- Horseracing is mesmerizing stuff
Costas is too old and has too many media interests at this point to either A) run for office; or B) become commissioner of baseball. But this does set the stage for some douchebag grad student who looks up to Bob and his botox injections and think “Someday, I can do that and I can become commissioner of a major sport!” (If you’re having a difficult time putting that visual together, imagine a young Roger Goddell in his dorm room)
The issue of the Washington Redskins changing their name should only be an issue if Native Americans have an issue with it and decide to make their voice heard. In a recent survey of American sports fans, it was determined that 79% of people who watch televised sporting events don’t think that the Washington Redskins should be forced to change their name. But why even conduct that survey? Why not only ask Native Americans who watch sports? Aren’t they the ones who we really need to ask here? And how about people of other ethnic groups that haven’t spoken up about this? You don’t see Condoleeza Rice (who had aspirations to be NFL comissioner, and likely still does) barking about this “inexcusable injustice”, do you?
As for Costas, if this debate has been raging for decades that also means he has had a large portion of his adult life to figure out how to do this 2 minute television spot. When Jovan Belcher killed the mother of his child and then took his own life, it happened on a Saturday morning so Costas only had a small amount of time to somehow work the whole thing so it would become a gun control issue (which it wasn’t) instead of being an issue of psychosis. (which it clearly was) Bob had been thinking of the Redskins thing for over twenty five years and this was the shitbox angle that he came up with to fill his time on the air. I had never wanted to see Hines Ward so badly in my entire life…
So I guess what bothered me the most about his little ethical rant (which is apparently now becoming an annual thing) is the fact that I debunked the main centerpiece of his argument in less than three paragraphs when I brought up the examples that he provided and how much more offensive they would be. And that saddens me, because up until Bob started telling us what to think and which amendments not to abide by I really loved Bob Costas. I thought (and still think) that he’s a great sports broadcaster, but now if he’s doing this so that NBC can give him a platform where he can say something like this I can’t say I will always agree with his editorial opinions. And as we’ve stated before here at SBM, Costas has an entire cable channel (NBC Sports Network) where he can state those beliefs. Even with all of the crazy stuff I just mentioned that the National Broadcasting Company thinks are realities, I’m shocked that they let him do this on “Sunday Night Football” which is the highest rated primetime show on television.
I can’t tell you if the name is offensive enough to Native Americans that it should warrant a complete overhaul of a multi-million dollar franchise, as I can’t make that decision. I can however tell you that just be careful where you’re getting you’re information from, because you never know what the agenda behind it might be…that is, unless you really think about it.