Phil Simms made the most headlines yesterday since his days as the Giants quarterback.
The CBS analyst said he decided he probably won’t use the derogatory nickname for the Washington team when he calls one of their games.
From Barry Wilner’s story in the Associated Press.
“My very first thought is it will be Washington the whole game,” Simms told The Associated Press on Monday.
Simms will work the Thursday night package the network acquired this season and will have Giants-Redskins on Sept. 25. He isn’t taking sides in the debate over whether Washington’s nickname is offensive or racist. But he says he is sensitive to the complaints about the name, and his instincts now are to not use Redskins in his announcing.
“I never really thought about it, and then it came up and it made me think about it,” Simms added. “There are a lot of things that can come up in a broadcast, and I am sensitive to this.”
Tony Dungy also said he won’t use the nickname when he discusses the team on NBC.
Simms, though, carries more weight because he will be on the call for an entire game with Washington. A lead network analyst not using the nickname makes a powerful statement.
Last night, in his opening segment (above), Keith Olbermann suggested Simms’ decision could be “the tipping point” in this controversy. By taking a strong stand, it potentially opens the door for other analysts to follow his lead.
Interestingly, Simms’ partner, Jim Nantz, said he will continue to use the nickname. He said it is “not my job to take a stance.”
That is the same position taken by the New York Times in regards to using the nickname. There is some editorial justification in that decision.
Yet as Olbermann suggests, if Simms opts not to use the nickname, it increases the momentum for it to be eliminated completely. That day is coming.