The Washington Post editorial board has declared that they will no longer use the word "Redskin" when referring to the professional football team they share a hometown with. The editors made the announcement in an op-ed published on Friday.
"While we wait for the National Football League to catch up with thoughtful opinion and common decency, we have decided that, except when it is essential for clarity or effect, we will no longer use the slur ourselves. That’s the standard we apply to all offensive vocabulary, and the team name unquestionably offends not only many Native Americans but many other Americans, too."
Other sections of the paper, such as news and sports, will continue to use the team's official nickname.
This change was spurred, in part, by the example of Mike Carey, a retired NFL referee, who admitted this week that he quietly refused to officiate any Redskins games for the last eight seasons of his career because of the name.
The announcement is one of the most significant statements against Washington's controversial name and another blow to the team's image. The Post is the most widely read newspaper in the Washington D.C. area, and cover the Redskins extensively. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the decision by the paper will have a major impact on the team or owner Dan Snyder, who has repeatedly refused to change the name despite receiving its share of vocal, nationwide criticism.
In May, 50 U.S. Senators penned a joint letter to N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell condemning the name and asking for a change. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has previously said that he won't attend home games until the team is no longer "The Redskins."
Despite increased criticism the Redskins have continued to defend their controversial name. Snyder has made it clear that he will not change the name (which he has said is a term of "respect") so long as he is in charge. Last Thursday the Redskins filed an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, after the U.S. Patent and Trademark office canceled six federal trademark registrations.
According the website Indian Country, a California State University, San Bernardino poll conducted in June found that 67 percent of Native Americans think the term "Redskin" is offensive.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.