There wasn’t a whole lot of controversy about the Washington Redskins nickname during John Madden’s long tenure as a broadcaster, but time has moved on and lots of people now believe it’s wrong to use that nickname in the booth or anywhere else.
So how would John Madden handle the controversy if he were still in the booth? Good question. Sports Illustrated asked the legendary coach, announcer and video game namesake for his take:
“I probably would not get caught up in that stuff and try to do the right thing or whatever you are supposed to do,” Madden says. “You go back to the pronunciation of guys’ names: I always studied and worked on that because I always thought it was very embarrassing to not know someone’s name or be able to pronounce it properly. I think that’s bad. It’s also bad to mispronounce a name. I think it’s bad to laugh at a name too. I can’t pronounce that so I’m just going to call him ‘Whoops’? That’s not what his name is. So I always tried to do what you were supposed to do and what is right. Whatever adjustment had to be made I would have made.”
Madden stops short of taking a definite stance on the Redskins name, but he certainly implies that in light of today’s controversy, he would be uncomfortable using a nickname that some believe is a racial slur.