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Bob Costas insists the controversy over the Redskins’ name is not political correctness run amok


NBC broadcaster Bob Costas joined “The Last Word” with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Tuesday to talk all things NFL, including Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice case, child abuse allegations against Adrian Peterson and the league’s culture of violence. There was a moment of levity out of a commercial break, when Costas and O’Donnell watched a snippet of Comedy Central’s trailer for tonight’s season premiere of South Park, which pokes fun at the Redskins name controversy.

“Bob, the league is looking back fondly to the days when that was their biggest problem,” O’Donnell said.

“Yes,” Costas said. “That was a small problem. And, as I have said before, without going into too much detail about this, I don’t believe that anyone in 2014 is intentionally disrespecting Native Americans when they root for the Washington Redskins. I don’t have any problem with a former Washington player saying, ‘I was proud to play for the team, I’m proud to hear the fight song.’ All that is fine. But things change. And, to me, the argument that trumps all is just grab a dictionary, any dictionary. It is a dictionary-defined insult or slur, pejorative, derogatory, insulting, a slur. None of those definitions apply to Chiefs, Braves, Warriors, nicknames associated with Native Americans. And the only reason to object there would be if the symbols or rituals were out of line.

Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same to me as Vikings or Cowboys or Patriots. And to object to those, absent direct insulting rituals or symbols, is, to me, political correctness run amok. Those who are in favor of keeping the name try to dismiss any objection or any question about it as simply political correctness, and that’s the end of it. But distinctions can be made. And you can be a reasonable person who sneers at stupid political correctness and still say, hey, here’s the dictionary. End of argument. That’s how I feel.”

Costas’s comments on the subject were nearly identical to his “Sunday Night Football” monologue during halftime of last October’s Redskins-Cowboys game. He made the same argument during last month’s debate with Chris Cooley on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”