The Washington Post’s editorial page has deleted the Washington Redskins from its word bank.
Since 1992, the page has insisted the nickname of its nearby NFL team was offensive to Americans of every ethnicity. On Friday, it took a stand.
“Every time the R-word is used, something disrespectful is happening,” the editorial board wrote in its statement. “We hope Mr. (Dan) Snyder and the NFL will acknowledge that truth sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we’ll do our best not to contribute to the disrespect.”
“What we are discussing here is a change only for editorials,” the board continued. “Unlike our colleagues who cover sports and other news, we on the editorial board have the luxury of writing about the world as we would like it to be. Nor do we intend to impose our policy on our readers. If you write a letter about football and want to use the team name, we aren’t going to stop you.”
This doesn’t mean the paper’s newsroom will follow suit, of course.
Executive editor Martin Baron said, “The Post’s newsroom and the editorial page operate independently of each other. Standard operating policy in the newsroom has been to use the names that established institutions choose for themselves. That remains our policy, as we continue to vigorously cover controversy over the team’s name and avoid any advocacy role on this subject.”
As TheWrap previously reported, the movement to change the team’s name has been long underway, but recently has gained more steam with the likes of prominent public figures including Rachel Maddow, Bob Costas and sports journalist Bill Simmons denounced the name some Native Americans consider offensive. The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation even broadcast a 60-second ad decrying the team’s name during this year’s NBA Finals.
Snyder, the team owner, repeatedly has refused to change the name, however. In May, he wrote an open letter to his fans and explained why: “I’ve been encouraged by the thousands of fans across the country who support keeping the Redskins tradition alive. Most — by overwhelming majorities — find our name to be rooted in pride for our shared heritage and values.”
A Redskins spokesman told TheWrap: “The editorial board has been opposed to the Washington Redskins name for more than 30 years. So today’s announcement is no surprise. We just wish they would have had taken us up on our offer to visit several reservations to see how much Native Americans embrace and value the name and use it as their own logo and mascots across this country.”
ESPN analyst Mike Ditka is strongly against a name change. This week, he blasted those in favor of a name change. “What’s all the stink over the Redskin name? It’s so much horse shit it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world,” the Hall of Famer said in a phone interview.
The Washington Post’s editorial page does not agree. “The team name unquestionably offends not only many Native Americans but many other Americans, too,” it wrote.