By Ken Reed

At halftime of the Sunday Night Football game last night between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, NBC announcer Bob Costas delivered an essay in which he said the Redskins name is “an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent.”

The statement from one of the country’s premier sportscasters on one of the most watched shows in America is definitely a welcomed development in the quest to get the racist Redskins nickname changed. It will definitely draw more attention to the issue. As sports activist Dave Zirin said, “Most people just, in the words of former coach Joe Gibbs, ‘haven’t really thought about it.’ Bob Costas now has more people thinking about it, and that is the first step toward a long overdue change.”

Costas has come a long ways in his career when it comes to addressing contemporary sports issues. For a long time, he steered clear of any controversy. As he’s matured, he’s increasingly — albeit slowly — used his pulpit to address social justice issues in sports. Some credit in Costas’ transformation should go to long-time New York Times columnist Robert Lipsyte, who has long challenged Costas to take tougher journalistic stands on the sports issues of the day. Basically, Lipsyte has always felt Costas was a shill for the sports establishment, and wasn’t afraid to say so publicly, including face-to-face with Costas, although they’ve come to a point in recent years where they better understand each other.

Whatever the reason for Costas’ more frequent moments in the role of “sports reformer journalist,” those moments are definitely a positive for the sports reform movement as a whole.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.