I have been assured that this is a coincidence. So let’s just call this a case of interesting timing.
At the 6:08 mark of his opening commentary about the Washington nickname controversy on Friday night, Olbermann directed his comments at ESPN. It concluded with this:
“It is time for us here officially, or just like Gumbel, Simms and Dungy, to stop using the name.”
The next day, ESPN, hoping to fly under the radar on a Saturday afternoon, issued the following statement:
“Our consistent company policy will continue: using official names and marks as presented by the teams, leagues and conferences we cover. We do, however, recognize the debate over the use of ‘Washington Redskins’ and have afforded individuals the opportunity to decide how they will use those words when reporting on the team.”
Now the network isn’t banning the nickname. It wouldn’t go that far. And to be fair, ESPN is in the same company with the New York Times and Washington Post in still using the nickname in its reporting.
But it is giving its announcers and analysts the choice.
Even if the timing is a coincidence, you would have to think Olbermann’s repeated commentaries on the issue had to carry some considerable weight within Bristol.
As Olbermann notes, “momentum is building” to eliminate the nickname.