I consider the value of words on every occasion that I pen a story and have considered the value of slang or profanity as I write stories. Inevitably I decide (without ever having to go through a list) to not employ profanity or slang. When I worked at a Cherokee Indian casino several years ago I was immersed in the language of abuse. You see, native Americans were put in a corner as it were much like slaves were and their anger is very similar. Bob Costas, who thought about it briefly, and was right: it would take only a brief moment to determine the use of 'redskins' is and has been a slight.
The Cherokee Indians go to great pains to preserve their own language so this controversy over the use of 'redskins' is real: as if someone would falsely or frivolously accuse an organization of disrespecting them. The word 'redskins' is the same insult as using the 'n' word is to black people. How do you like for instance calling the Cleveland NFL franchise the Cleveland Browns? There will never be a National Football League franchise named the Washington Cracker Heads or Crackers or even the Washington Browns. 'Browns' sounds like a slight to me.
The 'n' word is so offensive that it's not used in the media though I know people still use it around the country. I don't use it. Nor do I say 'redskin' in an angry or derogatory way. Native Americans didn't have an emancipation like slaves did: it's unfortunate. When slaves were emancipated their perception was changed and derogatory terms came into vogue; and they, largely, went out of vogue.
This Washington Redskins franchise began in Boston in 1932 (came to Washington in 1937), incidentally, so Boston can take some responsibility or blame. In the early years of the National Football League teams came and went and names were often tied to local industries. It doesn't seem logical that the 'Redskins' name is really so important or irreplaceable.
In conclusion, I think Bob Costas was right in his assertion that the word 'redskin' is derogatory. I didn't call you cracker head today, did I? How many times would it take until you said something to me about it?
As I considered posting a photo for this story I noticed the amazing, almost identical, resemblance that Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has to people I saw every day when I worked on the Cherokee Indian reservation in North Carolina.