*With the name of Washington’s professional football team under scrutiny for being offensive to Native Americans, reps from the two broadcast networks airing games next season have commented on the controversy and revealed what freedom their talent will have in using, or choosing not to use the team name in their coverage.
“We don’t tell our announcers what to say about any topic on television, really. That is true about team names also,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus, who joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves and New England Patriots Chairman Robert Kraft at the TCA Press Tour Thursday to tout the network’s addition of “Thursday Night Football.”
While the decision to use the term will be up to Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson from the booth and sidelines; and James Brown, Deion Sanders, Bart Scott, Tony Gonzalez and Bill Cowher during the pregame shows, McManus says a final network decision has yet to be made.
“The season is two months away. We haven’t made any specific plans with respect to the name,” McManus continued. “It’s a topic that’s obviously gotten a lot of attention. It’s an important topic and it’s a very sensitive topic to a lot of people. We’re looking at it, but right now we don’t have any change in our plan in not telling our announcers what to say or not to say.”
Commissioner Goodell doubled down, adding “We don’t dictate to our broadcast partners how they cover the game. We don’t give them that kind of instructions, so that’s their decision.”
On Monday, Cris Collinsworth of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” told EURweb exclusively that he and his colleagues Al Michaels and Michelle Tafoya will continue using the name this fall in its coverage…because network policy forces them to.
“We’re sort of contractually obligated to refer to NFL teams by their names, so that’s what we’ll continue to do,” he said.
But if Washington were his team, Collinsworth said he’d change the name.