Some of the NFL’s most legendary, respected names are differing over whether to use the Washington Redskins name in television broadcasts this season
CBS’s Phil Simms and NBC’s Tony Dungy, who each spent more than a decade in the league as either players or coaches, recently said they will likely refrain from using “Redskins” moving forward.
“My very first thought is it will be ‘Washington’ the whole game,” Simms, who is expected to call the September 25 game between the team and the New York Giants, told the Associated Press. “I never really thought about it, and then it came up and it made me think about it. There are a lot of things that can come up in a broadcast, and I am sensitive to this.”
As quarterback for the Giants throughout the 1980s, Simms faced off against the interdivisional rival Redskins multiple times.
Dungy echoed Simms’s stance, though he is an in-studio commentator and will not directly call any of the team’s games.
“I will personally try not to use ‘Redskins’ and refer to them as ‘Washington,’” said Dungy, who played or coached in the league from 1977 to 2008, during which time he won two Super Bowls. “Personal opinion for me, not the network.”
But ESPN commentator Mike Ditka blasted critics and told them to “leave [the issue] alone.”
“This is so stupid it’s appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins,” he told the website redskinshistorian.com.
Ditka, who is better known for his time as the Super Bowl-winning coach of Chicago Bears, and spent four decades as a player or coach, said the name is “out of reverence, out of pride” to American Indians, and is not disparaging.
“It’s been the name of the team since the beginning of football,” Ditka added. “It has nothing to do with something that happened lately, or something that somebody dreamed up. This was the name, period. Leave it alone. These people are silly — asinine, actually, in my opinion.”