With the 2014 season set to begin, Outside the Lines Special Report: Washington’s Nickname – An NFL Dilemma (Tuesday, Sept. 2, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2; 11 p.m., ESPNEWS) will examine how one team faces a controversy over its nickname.
The call to change the Washington Redskins name has grown louder, extending beyond Native American groups and activists who say it is offensive and racist. Now some politicians, NFL players and media members have taken a stand against the team’s nickname, while others are just as passionate about holding onto it, citing its proud tradition and history.
ESPN’s cross-platform examination of the debate features an Outside the Lines’ prime-time special hosted by Bob Ley, which includes an in-depth conversation with one of the strongest supporters of the name: Washington team owner Daniel Snyder. In his first extensive television interview on the subject, Snyder tells reporter John Barr why he feels so strongly about his team’s name and why he believes the public’s concern about Native Americans may be misplaced.
Credit: ESPN / Producer Arty Berko
John Barr interviews Daniel Snyder with his wife Tanya
- “They need to hear the truth; they need to hear some history; they need to hear the facts… We’ve traveled, and we’ve seen the truth. Nobody in Washington, D.C. wants to talk about the truth.” — Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins team owner
The financial implications of the franchise name change will be examined by ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine senior writer Peter Keating: How much would a name change cost Snyder and the team? How much do they stand to gain?
- “The research shows that for those that had Native American, or Indian, mascots, they have performed very, very well after changing those names.” – Derrick Heggans, former managing director, Wharton Sports Business Initiative, University of Pennsylvania
Credit: ESPN / Producer Greg Shapiro
Peter Keating at Derrick Heggans’ Washington, D.C. office
Navajo and psychiatric social worker Amanda Blackhorse, the named plaintiff in the case known as Blackhorse et al v. Pro-Football Inc., the lawsuit filed by five Native Americans, will be a guest to present the Native American perspective.
Additional guests will include NBC’s Bob Costas, who, during his halftime essay on a Sunday Night Football game last October, called the term Redskins, “an insult, a slur.”
Outside the Lines will also reveal the results of three separate polls gauging how NFL players – including Washington Redskins players — and the general public feel about the team’s nickname.
The show’s “open” was written by ESPN The Magazine senior writer Howard Bryant and narrated by actor Sam Elliott. It was shot at the American Indian Center of Chicago where Native American Frank Waln, Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud Sioux, an accomplished hip-hop artist and three-time Native American Music Award winner, performed the open’s music.
Credit: ESPN / Producer Michael Sciallo
ESPN Sr. Writer Steve Wulf reports on what the National Congress of American Indians and other groups have done to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the use of Native American imagery in professional sports.
“Fueled by billions of dollars in revenue, and governed by mostly white men in offices that are all located in Manhattan — an island taken from the Lenape in the 17th century — these teams now find themselves clinging to names and images and traditions while the winds of change are howling around them.” – Steve Wulf