Phil Simms Won’t Say ‘Redskins’ During Tonight’s Football Game

Tonight, CBS will be broadcasting the Thursday Night Football game between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, and at least one of the two announcers will be trying to avoid referring to one of the teams by its name:

CBS lead analyst Phil Simms plans to try to avoid saying “Redskins” during Washington’s nationally televised game against the New York Giants.

The network airs the matchup Thursday night as part of its new NFL package. Simms first told The Associated Press last month that he would call the team “Washington” during the broadcast.

The former Giants quarterback said he wasn’t taking sides on whether the club should change its nickname, but he was sensitive to complaints that the term is offensive.

Simms’ broadcast partner, play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz, said then that it’s “not my job to take a stance.”

Leaving aside one’s position on the Redskins name, these efforts by members of the media to go out of their way to avoid referring to the team by its action name strike me as somewhat silly. The team name is a fact as much as the names of the players are a fact, and deliberately not using it, usually followed by some verbal gymnastics in the process, just comes across as patronizing and a way for certain members of the media to make it seem like they are taking a stand on a controversial issue when they really aren’t. In the end, the only thing I care about regarding tonight’s game is that the Redskins lose, Simms’s efforts make it seem like he’s better than everyone just come across as dumb in my opinion.

In any case, Simms’s employers don’t seem to share his plans:

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. C. Clavin says:

    There’s a really hokey saying that applies here…

    “be the change you want to see in the world”

    Come to think of it there’s another one too…

    think globally, act locally

    Good for Simms for taking a step no matter how stupid…instead of just complaining about everything, Doug.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    Doug, if you were to link and quote a piece that used the N word, would you just copy and paste it as is, or euphemize the word somehow?

    Tonight, no more difficult verbal gymnastics than saying “Washington” instead of the R word. Possibly more awkward if Simms is covering Washington in two weeks when they play the Seahawks, but even then “Washington” v/ “Seattle” or “Seahawks” should be clear enough as I don’t recall the Seahawks referring to themselves as the “Washington Seahawks” and they’d hbe saying “Washington” half the time anyway.

    Conservatives seem to regard all “political correctness” as horrible oppression. Mostly, it’s just courtesy.

  3. Dean says:


    Well in fairness to Doug, Washington is 3 syllables and Redskins is 2. So that is quite a bit of extra effort on Simms’ part.

    Also, someone might explain to Nantz that by uttering a racial slur on national television he already is taking a stand, just not the civilized one.

  4. bill says:

    Cool, it can be a drinking game too.

  5. Gustopher says:

    It would be nice if he just referred to them as the Washington Racial Slurs.

  6. jay baskette says:

    Philo Simms should be fired from CBS if he cannot perform his job objectively. His role is to announce the game between the two teams, not participate in political controversy. His personal views do not belong on the telecast. CBS can not afford this biased view to be associated with NFL telecasts or their company. I will file a complaint with the FCC against their license if this is allowed.

  7. aFloridian says:

    @jay baskette:

    I really think you are not seeing the point here. As a poster above points out, when faced with a choice, continuing to use the word IS taking a stand. His personal views don’t belong on a telecast but a racial slur does? You’ll file a complaint? Geez.

    And Doug – WOW! So shocked that you thought it was silly. Everything you disagree with you label as silly when it’s an issue you don’t think of as important. I’m not actively taking the stance that the name must be changed – but let’s keep the conversation honest. The name is offensive and does NOT honor Native Americans – “oh, those brave and fearless redskinned savages” is how it would read even if it were a tribute.

    Change has to start somewhere, and I think a move like this is writing on the wall for the name. Soon? I don’t know. As you like to say when wrapping yourself in libertarianism “it’s Dan Snyder’s team and he doesn’t have to change the name until he wants to teehee *snicker*” Yeah, maybe, but the league can’t take anymore negative publicity. The last thing they want is this Redskins issue staying alive for the foreseeable future. You say it’s patronizing – so was it patronizing when modern performers slowly stopped using blackface and doing minstrel shows?

    Do you see how backwards that sounds? The only thing patronizing here is that Dan Snyder continues to tell people the name is a tribute! Jim Nantz I can live with – yeah, sorry Jim, you are taking a stance, but I can handle the passive unwillingness to fight the status quo more than I can your effort to belittle Simms’ actions because you find it trivial (some would call that your white privilege).

  8. the Q says:

    On Inside the NFL Simms explained why he won’t say the word. One of his close friends said he was offended by that word so Simms, out of deference to those others who might be offended, won’t say it. Period.

    Oh, Jay Baskette. please go into the local Indian casino, straddle up to the bar and loudly ask “hey are any of you Redskins gonna serve me a beer?”

    Of course no one will be offended you clueless twit.

  9. Tyrell says:

    @C. Clavin: This is not just silly, but weird, bizarre. What in the world is he going to call them ? Look, I don’t care what they call them, if they would just start winning. But this thing of pretending that they don’t have a name ? Come on. It would be a good opportunity for someone to remind Mr. Simms of the sorry record of the New York Giants last year and now. That is what is disgusting.
    Possible new name ideas: Washington Generals: certainly fits; Washington Swords: has some fight to it; Washington Warriors: works with their song; Washington Attackers: has an edge. What we don’t need is another lame animal name.
    Why not just Washington ? That certainly honors the father of our country and the hero of the revolution. You don’t have to have a name. And who could possibly find any offense at that ?
    CBS ? Their news and sports divisions hit the skids years ago. I’ll catch it some other way, but this game is fairly meaningless.

  10. michael reynolds says:


    The Washington Founders?

    Slightly, off-topic but it’s almost scary to realize how much we owe that man. Imagine if Afghanistan or Iraq had had a Washington. Imagine if we had not.

  11. anjin-san says:

    let’s keep the conversation honest. The name is offensive and does NOT honor Native Americans – “oh, those brave and fearless redskinned savages” is how it would read even if it were a tribute.

    Amen to that

  12. Andre Kenji says:

    Lester Holt also does not use the “R” word when announcing Sunday Night Football on NBC Nightly News.

  13. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tyrell: I’m not sure what you’re getting at with “[w]hat in the world is he going to call them” because it is not clear who “he” is (curse you! evil grammar conventions!), but if the “he” is Phil Simms, I’m also not clear as to why you haven’t been able to figure out that the team can be called “Washington” just fine. On many NFL broadcasts, See- AT-ull (Seattle–and also 3 syllables over the 2 of Sea-hawks) is used without causing anyone to believe that the team doesn’t have a name.

    Or maybe you’re just being as silly as Doug. (Curse you! Evil courtesy!)

  14. Nikki says:

    As the activists said on the Daily Show, the term meant “proof of kill.”

    I still think Jones should have asked the black fan if he would have a problem with the Washington N@gg ers.

  15. Pylon says:

    Just going by memory, I think announcers say the city name as much if not more often more than the nickname. “Touchdown Seattle”.

  16. Pylon says:

    This is far from silly. If the team was the Washington N…..s I doubt anyone would fault an announcer for doing what Simms plans. And the name is no less a slur than the N word.

  17. bill says:

    @Nikki: well if it was a black owned team why not? i hear it all the time, but coming from blacks makes it ok. bunch of pc whiners always looking for something to whine about- get a clue.

  18. rick says:

    This is the perfect example of why this country has been destroyed by ignorance and stupidity. They have been called the Redskins for decades and all of a sudden, the people who have been saying Redskins for years, find it offensive????? They took every poll under the sun and everyone they did shows that Native Americans are not only not offended by the name, they’re proud of it! This is a bunch of sheep following an extremist liberal agenda. Same morons sleeping out, on line waiting for an iphone and same idiots rushing the door on black Friday looking to buy a tv. Next, black Friday will be considered racist. You’re complete idiots and hypocrites!