As we approach the 2014 NFL regular season, one of the stories is which announcer is going to say “Redskins” and which one is not. No matter where you stand, you know the subject is polarizing and the networks know that they’re stepping on a landmine.
We already know that CBS has allowed its announcers to use their own discretion on the word. NBC’s Tony Dungy has declared that he won’t say it on the air. On the other hand, Al Michaels said the whole controversy is silly.
As for ESPN, Tom Jackson said he may follow Dungy and not use the name. On ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike, Jackson told his fellow Sunday NFL Countdown panelist Cris Carter that he’s considering not saying it this season:
“… you know what, I don’t have the right to tell Native Americans what’s insulting to them. I don’t have the right to do that. And I don’t think that anybody’s who’s not Native American can tell Native Americans what’s insulting to them.”
Jackson added: “I’ve also heard that Tony Dungy is going to refuse to use the name Redskins on air, and I may in fact follow suit. It’s hard for me to believe that — again, I don’t want to overuse the term — but it’s hard for me to believe that Native Americans see that as a term of endearment and respect.”
And ESPN now has given its announcers the discretion of whether to say it or not:
“Our consistent company policy will continue: using official names and marks as presented by the teams, leagues and conferences we cover. We do, however, recognize the debate over the use of ‘Washington Redskins’ and have afforded individuals the opportunity to decide how they will use those words when reporting on the team.”
So going forward, we’ll may hear more about this as the season opening kickoff approaches.