CBS’ Sean McManus’ comments to “The Hollywood Reporter” recently regarding the network’s view on whether his announcers should use the term “Redskins”:

Sean McManus
Chairman of CBS Sports Seam McManus

We haven’t talked to them yet. Generally speaking, we do not tell our announcers what to say or not say. Up to this point, it has not been a big issue for us. Last year, it was simmering; now it’s reaching a hotter level. But we probably will not end up dictating to our announcers whether they say Redskins or don’t say Redskins. We leave that up to them and our production team. There are times when something becomes important enough that we talk to them, and between now and the start of football season we’ll decide what is the right thing to do.

Let me begin by saying – this is not a piece that will address my feelings on the main thread of the “Redskins” nickname debate. I’m not afraid to go on the record with my feelings. Just not in this space. This space is about those who should be taking a stance but are afraid, and about whom that cowardice may affect.

Let’s start with the last sentence of the above McManus quote; “there are times when something becomes important enough that we do talk to (our announcers)…”

Ummm – ok – if the “Redskins” debate isn’t one of those things that is important enough – then I’m very curious as to what would be. You know. Important enough to speak to your announcers about. Like whether or not to say a team’s actual nickname during a three-hour broadcast. Or in a pregame show. Or at halftime. Or in a postgame show. Or you know. On CBS air.

This year I’m invited for the first time to go to the FOX meetings in the fall. I’ve heard about these meetings and last year was given a lengthy handbook from the folks at FOX. The announcers’ section of the manual gives us direction about what is and is not appropriate for air. Some useful, some not. But I’m glad for the reminders and the direction.

Point is – it’s hard to take McManus at his word that “(CBS) (doesn’t) tell (their) announcers what to say or not say.” I suspect CBS has meetings or a manual or both. Or at least gives their announcers some direction. Hard to imagine they don’t – formally or informally.

It certainly appears from the quote above that CBS’ current position on this topic is  – “this thing is really a friggin mess and we really would rather not get involved at all – certainly don’t want to take a position on either side – soooo – we’ll just throw our announcers out there to the wolves and see which way the wind blows…”

All I’m saying is – take a position and back your guys. Say – “if Redskins is still the team’s official nickname – then our guys will use the nickname” – or “we find the name ‘Redskins’ objectionable and offensive and have instructed our guys to not use the term.”

I know it’s hard to take a position, to subject yourself to ridicule or lawsuits or public scrutiny or worse. To endure the slings and arrows and so on.

But if that’s what you’re asking your announcers to do – you should have the courage and common decency to do it yourself.  

Previous articleDo You Know Eric?
Next articleRomo Close, But Not Ready
Ralph Strangis is the play-by-play voice of the Dallas Stars and is entering his 25th year with the team. Ralph is also a writer, actor and corporate motivational speaker. www.ralphstrangis.com. His opinions here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Dallas Stars or this publication.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here