RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Days after Washington Redskins owner Daniel Synder wrote a letter to fans explaining why it was important for the team to keep its nickname, sports anchor Bob Costas used his platform during Sunday night's Redskins-Cowboys game to speak up, and out, against the nickname. He called it an "insult, a slur."
After he noted many teams, both professional and collegiate, utilized Native American nicknames, Costas drew a distinction between nicknames like Blackhawks, Seminoles, Chippewas and the Redskins.
"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 towards African Americans, Hispanics, Asians or any other ethnic group. 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."
In response to what President Obama said, Redskins attorney Lanny J. Davis released a statement saying:
“As a supporter of President Obama, I am sure the president is not aware that in the highly respected Annenberg Institute poll (taken 2004) with a national sample of Native Americans, 9 out of 10 Native Americans said they were not bothered by the name the “Washington Redskins.” The president made these comments to the Associated Press, but he was apparently unaware that an April 2013 AP poll showed that eight out of ten of all Americans in a national sample don’t think the Washington Redskins name should be changed.
“We at the Redskins respect everyone. But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks (from President Obama’s home town ), we love our team and its name and, like those fans, we do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group. The name “Washington Redskins” is an 81 years old – it’s our history and legacy and tradition. We Redskins fans sing ‘hail to the Redskins’ every Sunday as a word of honor not disparagement.”
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