Sean McDonough’s first game as Monday Night Football play-by-play man (tonight at 7:10 ET) will feature the Steelers and the Redskins, though you might not hear McDonough say so in those words.
“My thought is, it’s their nickname. I’m not going to steadfastly avoid it, but I think I will use it as minimally as I can,” McDonough said.
Back in July, McDonough addressed the subject in an interview with Yahoo, saying he hadn’t decided how to handle the team name but was sensitive to the perception that it is offensive.
“My guess is that I’ll call them Redskins, but it might not be much more than once or twice. The rest of the night it will be, ‘First and 10, Washington at the 20-yard line.’ I think that’s the best way.”
We’ll avoid rehashing the debate about whether Washington’s team name is offensive, but it’s interesting to hear some prominent broadcasters rebelling against it, either fully or partially.
According to The Post, Jay Bilas, Phil Simms and Tony Dungy refrain from saying “Redskins,” and even those who say the word, like McDonough’s MNF predecessor Mike Tirico, often have some misgivings. As for print media, The MMQB’s Peter King is one of many high-profile writers to ditch the nickname.
McDonough’s apprehension stems from a relationship with Oneida Nation’s Ray Halbritter, an opponent of the name. Via The Post:
“I know Ray. He’s been as outspoken about it as anybody. If he’s hurt by it, you can’t ignore” the issue, McDonough said. “I am sensitive to both sides. If I do use the nickname, it will be as infrequently as I possibly can.”