Syracuse University and WSTM 3 alumnus Bob Costas weighs in on the ongoing controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins' moniker.
The NBC broadcaster used the "Sunday Night Football" match-up against Washington and the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas, TX as a stage for commentary, providing insight into similar debates about team nicknames that have popped up in sports history, suggesting it may be time for Washington to re-think its own team's name.
Recently, the Oneida Indian Nation launched a series of radio advertisements scheduled to air in the Nation's Capital -- as well as in cities where the Washington football team travels to play road games -- trying to fuel momentum among NFL fans to contact the NFL and Washington owner, Daniel Snyder, to change the nickname.
While some people and organizations argue the moniker is a term of respect and a way to honor Native American heritage, the Oneidas consider the nickname to be a racial slur.
In his commentary, Costas briefly touched on objections to other team names, which "honor rather than demean." He said nicknames like "Vikings," Patriots," "Cowboys," and even others like "Blackhawks" and "Chippewas," are alright to use as long as the corresponding symbols are respectful. Costas also drew examples from college teams formerly known as the "Indians" that have since changed their team names to something more politically correct.
Costas acknowledged his confidence that neither the NFL nor Snyder intends to disrespect Native American heritage or culture, but implies he hopes they realize how the nickname could be offensive once history is considered.
"Think for a moment about the term Redskins, and how it truly differs from all of the others," Costas said. "ask yourself what the equivalent would be if it were 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 can it possibly be considered a neutral term. It's an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present day intent."
Costas does a weekly commentary during each halftime show of NBC's "Sunday Night Football."
Before Sunday night's game, Snyder used Twitter as a vehicle to help the team keep its nickname, encouraging fans to tweet during the game. Using the hashtag #redskinspride, fans were asked to tweet what the moniker means to them.