By Matt Hammond

Washington’s NFL franchise has already lost intellectual property rights over its team nickname, which could lose its place in telecasts this season.

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told the Hollywood Reporter that he’s yet to give broadcast crews instructions on how to handle using the name, which has drawn the ire of parties ranging from Native American groups to Congress, and even made Drake’s opening monologue at last night’s ESPYs.

But McManus says they’ll be free to decide for themselves what to say when referring to the team.

… [W]e 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.

Conjecture: McManus may be trying to set his company and employees up for success in handling a difficult issue. Most NFL broadcast crews have been calling games for years, and have been using the nickname regularly. Dropping it from their lexicon overnight wouldn’t be easy.  If CBS were to make public a mandate to stop using the nickname, they’d have to discipline any slips.

It will be interesting to see how it’s handled, and whether it varies between crews.

Just be ready for a deluge of “the Washington team” from September to January.

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