Not everyone agreed.
With RG3 and the reigning NFC East champions facing off against the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday, Costas tackled the team's name and iconography. After briefly surveying the issues, as he sees them, plaguing teams with Native American monikers and mascots, Costas took aim at the franchise owned by Dan Snyder.
"But think for a moment about the term 'Redskins' and how it truly differs from all the others," Costas said. "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 could 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 clear to see how offense might legitimately be taken?"
The answers to Costas' closing question were mixed, as were the reactions to the segment. The remarks drew praise and criticism from those on either side of the issue as well as anger from people who don't believe that the broadcast of a sporting event is actually the "appropriate time" to discuss the topic.
Shortly before the game, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Dallas season-ticket holders that he believes Snyder "wants to do the right thing" when it comes to the name of his team.
Earlier the week, a letter from Snyder to his own season-tickets holders made clear that what he really wanted was to maintain the status quo.
"I respect the opinions of those who disagree," Snyder wrote in a letter obtained by The Washington Post. "I want them to know that I do hear them, and I will continue to listen and learn. But we cannot ignore our 81 year history, or the strong feelings of most of our fans as well as Native Americans throughout the country. After 81 years, the team name “Redskins” continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come."
Of course, this letter -- perhaps influenced by team lawyer Lanny Davis -- represented somewhat of a softening of Snyder's stance when it comes to the name of the team he purchased in 1999.
"We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps," he told USA Today Sports in May.
Snyder's team lost 31-16 on Sunday night. Will his defense of the team's name eventually fall, too? Can public statements like Costas' make a difference?
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