There’s a current movement of NFL on-air personalities away from using of the name “Redskins,” and Greg Gumbel has been ahead of that curve for a few years.
“I was just telling our PR Department I haven’t said the name on the air in three years, I just didn’t feel the need to call a news conference and announce it. It’s just my personal choice,” Gumbel told me during our exclusive chat at CBS/NFL Network Media Day. The CBS play-by-play man then rhetorically asked “would I feel differently if I owned the team?
“I don’t know, but I do feel there’s a PR gap to jump, and whether they will make that jump or not remains to be seen.”
You can hear the entire conversation below in this podcast, the Redskins name change discussion begins at the 5:24 mark.
Half of CBS’ lead announce team, Phil Simms, revealed Monday, at this very same event, that he will probably not use the Redskins name this year. James Brown, the face of the network’s NFL Today pre-game show said about a month ago that he believes the Redskins name should be changed, and Tony Dungy, who does pre and post NFL for NBC, has the same stance.
Like Simms, Dungy believes he won’t use the name on air this season at all. Greg Gumbel said he asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about this issue during their meeting that same morning, and Goodell spoke favorably of the effort Daniel Snyder has made on this issue, visiting 26 different Indian reservations to gather feeedback.
Gumbel says that Goodell claimed the reception was mostly positive.
Gumbel asked the commissioner about this topic because he is wondering when the Redskins name debate will become a league issue, not just a matter of the Washington franchise.
“He said there’s no way of knowing, but it’s one of those things that bears watching,” Gumbel said.
Gumbel doesn’t use the name because of his personal choice, the President of CBS reiterated that morning that they will let each announcer decide for themselves whether to use the name or not. Corporate will not attempt to impose any social mores on their talent.
Greg Gumbel is definitely someone who sees both sides of this issue. You should listen to the entire podcast to hear all of his thoughts. I asked him when we might see a mascot name change in D.C.
“I don’t know if there will be, there may not be. There are people who may live with it, just as there are people who find it offensive, there are people who don’t find it offensive, whether it’s because they’re used to it or not I don’t know. But the fact is, you got to have enough people finding it offensive in order to engineer a change.”
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