SBD/August 19, 2014/Media

Phil Simms, Tony Dungy Announce They Plan Not To Use Redskins Nickname

Simms said use of the moniker is a "sensitive" issue to him
CBS' Phil Simms yesterday said that he "likely won't use the term 'Redskins' when discussing the franchise" during the upcoming season, according to Barry Wilner of the AP. Simms said, "My very first thought is it will be Washington the whole game. ... 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." CBS' Jim Nantz, who works alongside Simms, said it is "not my job to take a stance." Wilner noted CBS is "allowing its announcers to decide on their own" whether to call the team the Redskins. CBS studio analyst Boomer Esiason said, "That's the name of their team and that's what I am going to use." CBS game analyst Solomon Wilcots also said he will use Redskins "as long as that is what they are called." He added, "That's their official name and I used it last year, two years ago, 10 years ago." Meanwhile, NBC's Tony Dungy in an e-mail wrote, "I will personally try not to use Redskins and refer to them as Washington. Personal opinion for me, not the network." Fox' Troy Aikman said, "As long as their nickname is the Redskins, I'll continue to call them the Redskins." (AP, 8/18). CBS' Greg Gumbel said, "I told our PR department this summer: I haven't used that nickname on the air in three years. It's just a personal choice." NFL Network's Michael Irvin added, "When we talk about it, I usually [use] Washington" (NJ.com, 8/18).

REBEL WITH A CAUSE: ESPN's Jason Whitlock said Simms' stance has "put a lot of pressure on the rest of us that cover and talk about football and other broadcasters." As the top game analyst for CBS, if Simms "sets the standard that he will not call the Redskins the Redskins and will call them Washington, it puts pressure on all of us and all broadcasting teams and I think it's good pressure." ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "Phil Simms did something that not many people in this business have or demonstrated often: guts. ... Whether Phil does it or not, the fact that he's given this serious thought, that he's willing to come out and talk about it publicly, a standing ovation as far as I'm concerned." Wilbon added, "Our bosses don't want it to be done. The NFL doesn't want it to be done. So good for Phil Simms, who is a big enough person and has enough stature to say, 'I may do this. What are you going to do to me now?'" ("PTI," ESPN, 8/18). In N.Y., Bob Raissman cites a source as saying, "If Phil Simms is thinking about not going there, don't you think other NFL analysts, who think the name is racist, will follow him? He is influential." Raissman writes that has "everything to do with the respect and stature Simms ... has in the business." If he decides not to use the name "others could feel it's safe to follow" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/19). ESPN's Keith Olbermann said it "looks like the tipping point in the battle" to change the team's name. Olbermann: "Television still dictates sports perception and the fact that if Phil Simms and a bunch of the rest of us conspicuously won't say the name, it will fade both in popularity and in economic value, and right quick. ... Touchdown, Phil Simms" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 8/18). In L.A., Chuck Schilken writes Simms "isn't really taking a stance." But if he chooses "not to say the word so many people don't want to be used, isn't that at least a small victory for its opponents?" (L.A. TIMES, 8/19).
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