CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus has said he will allow the network’s individual announcers to decide whether or not they use the name Redskins to describe Washington’s football team on air this season. Phil Simms, who is one half of the broadcast team that will call Thursday Night Football games on CBS beginning Sept. 11, said Monday that he is considering not using the name.
Simms will work the Thursday night package the network acquired this season and will have Giants-Redskins in Week 4 on Sept. 25. He says “my very first thought is it will be ‘Washington’ the whole game.”
Simms isn’t taking sides in the debate over whether Washington’s nickname is offensive or racist. But he adds he is sensitive to the complaints about the name, and his instincts now are to not use ”Redskins” in his announcing.
Jim Nantz, CBS’s play-by-play man for its Thursday night broadcasts, told reporters it is not his job “to take a chance.”
D.C. native and CBS sportscaster James Brown, who will host the Thursday Night Football pregame show, weighed in on the Redskins name during CBS’ live symposium, “50 Years Later: Civil Rights,” last month.
“I know people will engage in an argument and say, well it hasn’t been an issue all this time,” he said. “Yeah, well, the civil rights issue was one where ‘that’s just the way it was’ for a long period of time, right? So that holds no basis and substance to me. Do the right thing. You know, a number of years ago, when I was a kid, there was a restaurant chain called Sambo’s, which, as I understand was the last name of two guys who owned the restaurant chain. But it was offensive to black people, so they changed the name, except for the one franchise in California I believe it was. Well, so, if in fact it’s offensive to Native Americans — and there doesn’t have to be unanimity on this, and don’t just have a intractable attitude saying, I’m not going to change — that’s wrong as far as I’m concerned. I’ll get in trouble with that, but I stand on principle.”
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch provided a few details on how CBS will handle graphics, and indicated that he will be surprised if CBS announcers stop using the name.
As a policy: CBS will use Redskins logos, names in graphics. Individual broadcasters will have option (in theory) to say/not say the name. — Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) August 18, 2014
Thursday Night Football will have its own graphics package that’s different from CBS Sunday. — Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) August 18, 2014
4. Despite CBS Sports management saying announcers have option to bypass using term “Redskins,” I see no CBS announcer actually doing it. — Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) August 18, 2014