ESPN: Using 'Redskins' Is Reporters' Choice

Sunday, 24 Aug 2014 08:07 PM

By Andrea Billups

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ESPN is allowing its reporters and anchors to decide for themselves whether to use the name "Redskins" on air as debate over the Washington, D.C., football team's nickname, which some say is an ethnic slur, continues,Breitbart reports.

The new mandate is a measured step for the sports network, which considered banning the use of the team's name.

"Our consistent company policy will continue: using official names and marks as presented by the teams, leagues, and conferences we cover," ESPN noted in a statement released on Saturday. "We do, however, recognize the debate over the use of 'Washington Redskins' and have afforded individuals the opportunity to decide how they will use those words when reporting on the team."

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Sports announcers have differing views of use of the term. Tony Dungy and Phil Simms have indicated they are disinclined to use the name, but one colleague, former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka, called the issue "so stupid it's appalling," Breitbart noted.

Analyst Cris Carter said he will follow in the footsteps of his mentor, ESPN analyst Tom Jackson, who said Native Americans could make the decision on whether the term was upsetting, The Washington Post reported.

"I don’t have the right to tell Native Americans what's insulting to them. I don't have the right to do that. And I don't think that anybody's who's not Native American can tell Native Americans what’s insulting to them," Jackson said.

"So quite frankly, when I hear (Redskins owner) Daniel Snyder or I hear the commissioner of the National Football League say that the term is something that they are using to honor Native Americans, if Native Americans feel that way, so be it," Jackson added. "But if they feel that it's an insult, then it's an insult."

ESPN's decision follows a similar policy at CBS Sports.

"We probably will not end up dictating to our announcers whether they say Redskins or don't say Redskins. We leave that up to them and our production team," CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said in July.

Snyder has drawn the ire of some for noting that his team will always use the Redskin name, even as the Post says it all not use that word in its editorials, calling it "insulting."

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