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Liberal Publication Refuses to Use 'Redskins' Name When Referring to NFL Team


"Changing how you talk changes how you think."

A Washington Redskins helmet sits on the turf during the NFL football teams training camp in Richmond, Va., Saturday, July 27, 2013. (Credit: AP)

Slate will no longer refer to the Washington Redskins football team as the "Redskins," citing the word's connection with bigotry and mistreatment of Native Americans.

So, what moniker will Slate use in place of "Redskins"?

Apparently nothing's set in stone just yet, but Slate says its writers can always use "Washington" or "Washington's NFL team" in a pinch.

(Credit: AP)

Here's more from Slate:

Slate is far from the first to take a stand against the nickname. Why are we joining Washington City Paper and Gregg Easterbrook and writers from the Buffalo News and the Philadelphia Daily News? We’re a national, general-interest magazine, not the Washington Post or ESPN. Our coverage is sporadic, and I doubt that Dan Snyder or Roger Goodell have Google alerts for our NFL stories. When we stop using the name Redskins, hardly anyone will notice. But it will also represent no great sacrifice for us to stop using the word—it’s easy enough to substitute “Washington” or “Washington’s NFL team.” (To be clear, though we’re striking the word from our vocabulary, we will not bowdlerize quotes—if a public official utters the nickname in a newsworthy speech, we will not strike the word Redskins.)

Changing how you talk changes how you think. The adoption of the term “African-American”—replacing “Negro” and “colored”—in the aftermath of the civil rights movement brought a welcome symmetry with Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans, groups defined by geographic origin rather than by race or color. Replacing “same-sex marriage” with “marriage equality” helped make gay marriage a universal cause rather than a special pleading. If Slate can do a small part to change the way people talk about the team, that will be enough.

Close readers of Slate know that we are owned by the Washington Post Co., which just sold the Washington Post newspaper, the market-maker in Redskins coverage. Slate and the Washington Post newspaper have always been editorially independent, and what we’ve decided has no bearing on the newspaper, which still refers to the Redskins. Speaking as a Post subscriber, I wish they would change. The Post is—along with ESPN and the other NFL broadcasters—one of the only institutions that could bring genuine pressure on Snyder to drop the name. But it’s only fair to acknowledge that it’s a much more difficult decision for the newspaper than it is for us, given that covering Dan Snyder’s team is essential to the Post’s editorial mission.

And what should replace Redskins? A D.C. city councilmember cleverly proposed “Redtails,” the nickname of the Tuskegee Airmen. It nods at the city’s African-American heritage, and would allow Snyder to keep a feather in the logo. If he doesn’t like that, he could call them the Snyders, a name that would sate even his ego. But here’s my choice: If the team’s star quarterback works out as well as Snyder hopes, there’s a perfect name that would allow the team to keep the feathers and the ferocity: the Washington Griffins.

Incidentally, that "star quarterback" Slate refers to just above? Robert Griffin III has already tweeted that the pressure to change the team's name represents the "tyranny of political correctness":

(Credit: Twitter)

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)



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