Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy said he stopped using the Washington Redskins’ name when speaking about the team in his role as an NBC broadcaster, adding it wouldn’t be “hard” for the team to change its name.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer told The Undefeated he decided to stop using the name a few years ago. He said he now avoids the word when he has to speak about the team as an analyst for NBC’s “Football Night in America.”
“It’s not hard to change the name,” Dungy said. “When I’m on the air, I try to just refer to them as Washington. I think it’s appropriate. If the team doesn’t want to change, the least I can do is try not to use it.
“You can say, ‘This has been a historic name and we’ve used it for this team for X number of years, but in this day and age, it’s offensive to some people, so we’re going to change it.’ I don’t think that’s hard.”
Dungy, the first Black coach to win a Super Bowl in the 2006 season with the Indianapolis Colts, coached in the NFL from 1981 to 2008 after a brief playing career. According to The Undefeated, Dungy used to use the nickname “and never thought anything of it” until after his coaching days.
“When I got into broadcasting, the debate got bigger and bigger. I heard both sides,” Dungy said. “Finally, I just thought, ‘We have to come into an educated time.’”
Team owner Dan Snyder said in 2013 he will never change the team’s name, but the debate over its appropriateness has reemerged this year in light of Black Lives Matter protests and more corporate conversations about race and racism.
A study earlier this year from the University of California Berkeley found that 49% of the 1,000 Native American respondents considered the name racist.
Several media outlets, including Sports Illustrated and more recently the Philadelphia Inquirer, have also stopped printing the nickname when reporting on the team.
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