Al Michaels, the play-by-play man for NBC's Sunday Night Football, is the latest person to weigh in on the Redskins name controversy. Appearing on Jim Rome on Showtime this week, the legendary broadcaster was asked if he thought Redskins owner Daniel Snyder would keep the name.
“It seems to me as if he is going to hold on,” Michaels said (via SportsBog). “I mean all of the sudden -- I mean, for 70-some odd years this was a zero issue, and then it became an issue. I understand we live in this politically correct environment. It's crazier than ever; you know, senators want to weigh in on this, like there's nothing better to do in Congress. This becomes a big issue. I mean, I just think it's nuts. And I do know, I've talked to Snyder about it -- not recently but when we were in Washington last year -- and he basically said 'over my dead body.'”
This doesn't sound much different than what Snyder said as far back as May 2013, when he proclaimed, "We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER -- you can use caps."
Predictably, the "over my dead body" sentiments didn't go over well with Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter, who has been outspoken on the Redskins' name.
“Al Michaels' insensitive comments defending Dan Snyder perfectly exemplify why this has become the civil rights issue of the moment,” Halbritter told USAToday.com. “He proudly defends Snyder saying the name will only be changed ‘over my dead body,' somehow ignoring the fact that this name is already associated with dead bodies -- untold numbers of dead Native Americans who were tortured, abused and killed while being taunted with this racial slur.”
This latest development comes days after former Saints cornerback Champ Bailey, who was drafted seventh overall by the Redskins in 1999, said that Snyder should change the name.
“I get it, he doesn't want to change it,” Bailey said. “But he's making it worse than it should be. I don't know where the name came from or how it came about, but the bottom line is that it's still here in this day and age, and it makes no sense to have it,” Bailey said. “I love that organization, but when it starts peeling off old scabs and people are pitching a fit about it because it's degrading to them, then you've got to make a change.”