Announcers Don’t Have to Use Racial Slur When Discussing Washington Football Team

Sean McManus of CBS provided an interesting tidbit in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: The network will be giving commentators and other personnel the option of deciding whether they want to use a racial slur when referring to a certain Washington-based football team. The controversy over the team’s name has exploded in the last year, and the fact that CBS is thinking ahead to concerns about commentators who might feel uncomfortable with using a racial slur on air is telling.

While this policy doesn’t ban the use of the slur, it does present the option of dropping it, which could create pressure within CBS to stop using it, which in turn would set a precedent for other networks, as well as the team itself.

According to McManus: “Generally speaking, we do not tell our announcers what to say or not say. Up to this point, it has not been a big issue for us. Last year, it was simmering; now it’s reaching a hotter level. But we probably will not end up dictating to our announcers whether they say [the slur] or don’t say [the slur]. We leave that up to them and our production team. There are times when something becomes important enough that we talk to them, and between now and the start of football season we’ll decide what is the right thing to do.”

The team has been experiencing growing pressure to change its name from Native American activists displeased both about the name and the team’s mascot, as they’re offensive to the Native American community. Team owner Dan Snyder has found himself under fire from multiple sides as people lean on the team to change its name, and some have appealed directly to the NFL itself, suggesting that it compel Snyder to change the team name. The controversy has involved not just Native Americans but legislators, some football fans, the granddaughter of the team’s founder, and groups concerned about race and the history of racism in the United States, highlighting the broad scope of the issue.

Recently, the team was stripped of trademark protections, which struck a significant financial blow. It was a striking political move against the team as well, applying pressure to force it to reconsider its previous hardline stance on refusing to change it — the patent ruled that the slur was “disparaging to Native Americans” and thus couldn’t be covered by patent protections. In the wake of such a clear public comment, the team may be compelled to change its name.

Currently, the controversy may be at a simmer, but football season is rapidly approaching, and when it arrives, the issue is likely to leap into prominence again. As activists push for a change, CBS announcers finally have a nod from the bosses that they can choose to avoid using the slur in discussions of the team. If all the network’s commentators and announcers choose to do so, it sends a powerful message to the rest of the media, the team, and the Native American community: Time to change the name.

Photo credit: Keith Allison.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven8 months ago

thanks for the article.

Diane L.
Diane L2 years ago

C2's system won't let me send you another Greenie, Kevin, but here's some virtual ones............********!

Yes, it has a certain "ring" to it, actually better than the NBA team from the Golden State, wherever that city is, LOL!~

Like I said, somebody, SOMEWHERE always has a gripe or finds fault or some kind of offense in just about anything and everything, and my bet is that poultry and raptors somewhere are protesting the Seattle SeaHAWKS, Atlanta FALCONS, Baltimore RAVENS and the Philadelphia EAGLES. Exotic big cats are undoubtedly upset over being expoited by the Detroit LIONS and the Carolina PANTHERS,

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

That's cool Diane. I think people forget sometimes that friends can respectfully disagree on issues.

For instance, I have friends that think team names like the Chiefs, Braves, Indians, Blackhawks, etc. are insulting to Native Americans, and I think that is just silly. There is nothing inherently insulting about using Native American imagry for team mascots.

I feel, however,that "Redskins" crosses a line into an insulting racial slur.

Yeah, Washington Warriors does sound pretty cool, huh?

Maria Teresa Schollhorn

Thanks for the article.

Diane L.
Diane L2 years ago

Frank, this is hardly a discussion to rant about politics or Obama. Take it to a political forum, please. Are you related to Benghazi Bill by any chance? You sound just like him. Were you one of the other TEN who marched in Washington to protest Obama a month or so ago? Yup, you have me totally convinced that Barrack has hand-written a letter to the Washington Redskins owner asking for a name change.........NOT!

Diane L.
Diane L2 years ago

Kevin, no need to "apologize" to me, but we will just have to respectfully agree to disagree about the nickname of a football team as being racially offensive. You're probably right in that there were Spanish who landed on the shores of Mexico long before the British colonists landed at Plymouth Rock, and this is hardly a discussion about history, but the point I was attempting to make is that those settlers lived in relative peace with the natives for a long time. It also doesn't matter one iota to me NOW in 2014 what my ancestors did 250 -400 years ago. I wasn't there, I didn't hurt anyone then and neither did you. I don't feel guilty in the least for what happened back then, so if you do, that's your issue. Should those of us with German blood (and yes, supposedly my Mom was 1/8th German) feel guilty because of the Saxons invading the British Isles in the 1300's or for what Hitler did? Maybe anyone with Greek ancestors should feel shame for the people Alexander slaughtered or anyone of Italian descent for what Cesar did, or anyone of Mongolian descent apologizing for Atilla, the Hun?

And yes, the Washington Warriors does have a good "ring" to it :)

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Right, we get it. You live inside the right wing bubble and lie machine and you have "Obama Derangement Syndrome. We understand your disorder.

Frank S.
Past Member 2 years ago

If you and all these Obama lovers think this fiasco at our borders, Benghazi, and Fast and Furious is a lie then I see no intelligence here and I truly feel sorry for all of you.

As I said before .....No one can dispute the matter how you try and twist it.

Have a good life my friend and go in peace.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Oh Frank S., save your insipid right wing talking points for the idiots on the fox news message boards. People here are too intelligent to buy into your propaganda from the right wing lie and propaganda machine.