NBC Sports partnered with Oneida casino prior to Costas Redskins rant

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
Font Size:

The disputed Indian leader pushing to change the Redskins team name had already entered into an undisclosed television agreement with NBC Sports when Bob Costas delivered his on-air editorial condemning the Redskins name.

The Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone Casino in upstate New York, overseen by gaming mogul and disputed Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, will host its first NBC “Fight Night” production November 16 with the IBF heavyweight title fight between Tomasz Adamek and Vyacheslav Glazkov.

NBC already had the deal in place to broadcast from Turning Stone when Bob Costas delivered a halftime editorial during NBC’s October 13 primetime broadcast of the Cowboys-Redskins game.

Costas treated unsuspecting Sunday Night Football fans to an impromptu etymology lesson, noting that objections to the names of the Braves, Chiefs, or Warriors represent “political correctness run amok” because “these nicknames honor rather than demean.” On the other hand, the amateur linguist said, the Cleveland Indians and their mascot Chief Wahoo “have sometimes run into trouble.”

Costas elaborated that the Stanford Cardinal and Dartmouth Big Green were “both once the Indians,” while the St. John’s Red Men “have become the Red Storm.”

“And the Miami of Ohio Redskins, that’s right Redskins, are now the RedHawks,” Costas said.

Costas said that the name Redskins “truly differs from all the others.

“It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent,” Costas said.

NBC Sports did not disclose its ties to the Oneida Indian Nation at the time of Costas’ editorial.

Halbritter, who schmoozed with President Obama at a 2012 fundraiser, employs a crisis communications firm that also represents and a lawyer who represents IRS scandal figure Lois Lerner as he struggles to protect a casino empire that underpays valid members of the Oneida Nation and has ordered home evictions of Oneida members harboring anti-Halbritter sentiment.

The Daily Caller revealed last week that Halbritter is not a legitimate member of the Oneida Indian Nation, which he leads as official Representative and CEO of the tribe’s affiliated corporation.

NBC Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Follow Patrick on Twitter