Bob Costas calls Redskins name an ‘an insult, a slur’ on Sunday Night Football

Nearly every high-profile individual in the country tied to American sports has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Redskins name.

During his weekly halftime commentary on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, it was Bob Costas’ turn to use his platform to share his thoughts on the controversial moniker.

Costas held nothing back, calling the name an “insult” and a “slur,” and critizing the franchise for refusing to change it. He also decided to give Dan Snyder, and all of America, a history lesson on the distinction between “Redskins” and other franchises with Native American mascots, such as the Braves and Warriers.

Here is the full transcript of his speech, via For The Win:

With Washington playing Dallas here tonight, it seems like an appropriate time to acknowledge the ongoing controversy about the name “Redskins.”

Let’s start here. There is no reason to believe that owner Daniel Snyder, or any official or player from his team, harbors animus toward 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 longstanding moniker. And in fact, as best can be determined, even a majority of Native Americans say they are not offended.

But, having stipulated that, there’s still a distinction to be made. Objections to names like “Braves,” “Chiefs,” “Warriors,” and the like strike many of us as political correctness run amok. These nicknames honor, rather than demean. They are pretty much the same as “Vikings,” “Patriots,” or even “Cowboys.” And names like “Blackhawks,” “Seminoles,” and “Chippewas,” while potentially more problematic, can still be okay provided the symbols are appropriately respectful – which is where the Cleveland Indians with the combination of their name and “Chief Wahoo” logo have sometimes run into trouble.

A number of teams, mostly in the college ranks, have changed their names in response to objections. The Stanford Cardinal and the Dartmouth Big Green were each once the Indians; the St. John’s Redmen have become the Red Storm, and the Miami of Ohio Redskins – that’s right, Redskins – are now the Red Hawks.

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 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 is 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?

  • thug123

    Bob Costas is a douche trying to stay relevant

  • Gary

    Take him off TV he is an sick person

  • homealone

    I have been around a lot longer then Costas.. It’s time now for the dimwit to shutup and go bury his head in the sand.

  • Emerson

    If the name offends natives change it. How long can a team have a name based on skin color. I would imagine that a logo/jersey change would pay for itself in a season, end the discussion and everyone wins.

    • vandesan

      How about the Chicago Blackhawks and their crossed spears logo? Think they should change their racist name too? Give it a break, will you? Pro sports teams are multibillion dollar international corporations. They answer to fans and the league, not public opinion. People think redskins is racist because it’s about skin color but no one has complained about the NFL’s current promotion that revolves around the color pink. Everyone wears pink. Ask any man what pink means in terms of skin color. Yet the league promotes it. Give it up on the skin color thing.

      • Ap

        Are you gay and stupid. In the very video he stated why the Blackhawks isn’t racist. The team is named after the Blackhawks. It would be like having a hospital or a bridge named after you. Also both of you are idiots if you think the name Redskins is about skin color

        • vandesan

          This is the type of comment that shows your ignorance. Calling someone gay? Really. Are you a child or merely a homophobe? Is it this difficult to stick to the issue and not personalize it is some demonic way? I’d say you are the stupid one, especially if you think because Bob Costas said it it is true in regard to the crossed spears on the Blackhawks jersey and the use of the color black. Ever heard of a spear chucker?

  • mmwyatt

    Bob Costas is an idiot!! . .I mean really! are you serious dude??? … seems to me, Bob, the only one offended here is you..ya racist! .. get a real life Bob, time to move on for you dude! you is old and tired … and obviously have nothing intelligent to say during MNF anymore .. just accept it and bow out with the teeny little bit of dignity you have left …loser!

  • The Truth

    The Washington Redskins name has been around a loooooong time. Where was Costa’s opinion a year ago? Bob, maybe you should have had your head examined to go along with your face lift and died hair. Your just another talking head, not the Pope.

  • Frank Douglas

    I’m offended by the New York Yankees name. It should be changed too!

  • Sean Norton

    Keep the name the way it has been i think he is better to do baseball than football think this is McCarvers last year on fox but i do think he would prefer to have the spotlight instead of the commentary thats usually for a former player. Check out the comment Joe Buck made in the first inning on Austin Jackson stating he has struck out alot in post season and he is tired of announcers talk about it thats favoritism towards the sox get a new stadium for crying outloud that place is a fossil

  • Jamnew

    Disassociate the name with Native Americans. Take the indianhead off the side of the helmet and change the fight song lyrics. Redskins fans would get to keep their name and history and Native Americans would not be offended. If anyone asks say the team was named after redskin peanuts or redskin potatoes. The owner who came up with the name was George Preston Marshall, an avowed racist, who had to be forced by the Secetary of the Interior Stewart Udall to sign a black player in 1963, years after other NFL teams had intergrated. He swore publicly like Dan Snyder that he would never have a black player on his team, but the new DC Stadium was built on federal land and Udall with backing from JFK refused to let Marshall play in the stadium if blacks were not giving an equal chance to make the team. With Griffith Stadium torn down, Marshall had no where to go, so he relented and traded for Bobby Mitchell. Marshall had the Redskins band play Dixie at home games and once forced the young Mitchell to sing along. Mitchell just pretended to sing because he did not know the words to Dixie. Hail to the Redskins(written for Marshall) once contained the lyrics, “fight for old Dixie” but was later changed to “fight for old DC”. Does this sound like the type of man who would name a team to honor Native Americans?

  • LightingSam

    Dear Daniel Snyder, please change the name of your team to “The Washington Whiteskins.” Surely this would honor and make more people happy. Especially those that don’t see what all the fuss is about. Wouldn’t it be great ?