A Brief Summary of Indefensible Twitter Reactions to Bob Costas

by Mark Wilson

Tonight during halftime on Sunday Night Football, commentator Bob Costas delivered an essay on the propriety of the Washington Redskins name. TL; DR: He said it should be changed:

Still, the NFL franchise that represents the nation’s capital has maintained its name. But think for a moment about the term “Redskins,” and how it truly differs from all the others. Ask yourself what the equivalent would be, if directed toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group.

When considered that way, “Redskins” can’t possibly honor a heritage, or noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent. It is fair to say that for a long time now, and certainly in 2013, no offense has been intended. But, if you take a step back, isn’t it clear to see how offense “might” legitimately be taken?

The backlash on Twitter has been resoundingly anti-Costas, from the standard “liberal idiot” comments that we know and love:

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To those who attempt to use data to bolster the contention that “Redskins” is not offensive:

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To the idea that there is an equivalence between using a slur for an historically oppressed ethnic group—where that slur was invented and used by their oppressors—as a team name and using any other monicker (offensive or not) for another group (historically oppressed or not) where that monicker was not invented and used by their oppressors (when there are oppressors):

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To those calling for Costas to be injured or killed because he publicly delivered an opinion people disagree with:

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But what’s most curious is that so many people have suddenly developed an affinity for animals such that they believe animals have the same level of dignity as human beings:

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Of course, it’s difficult for anti-Costas folks to address one of Costas’ arguments; namely, how would you feel if the nickname were a nickname that was resoundingly (instead of somewhat) socially unacceptable?