The mounting attacks on the Washington Redskins name is having a huge impact on network broadcasters who are calling the football team “Washington” more than twice as much as last year, according to a review of NFL broadcast scripts.
The growing trend will become even more apparent Thursday night when the Redskins play the New York Giants in the nationally televised game during which broadcasterPhil Simms has vowed to avoid using “Redskins.” The show “South Park” also made headlines this week with a segment that mocked the Redskins.
The switch comes as the NFL and Redskins face mounting legal and political challenges to using the name that some call racist and the team calls honorable.
A chief antagonist, George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, said “It can’t just be a coincidence or a random event.”
Banzhaf has challenged the FCC license renewal of one of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s radio stations and believes the challenges are helping change the language used by broadcasters.
He cited a Deadspin survey of the first two weekends of games that found a dramatic drop in the use of “Redskins” vs. “Washington” by broadcasters.
The survey said that in 2013, “Redskins” was used 186 times, “Washington” 156 times. This year, “Washington” was the winner over “Redskins” 169 times to 67.