Robert Klemko, a writer for Peter King’s Sports Illustrated offshoot site, MMQB, told CBS Sports Radio last week that the site would no longer be using the name Redskins in their items.
“I know that our site, we’ve talked about it, and we’re not going to use Redskins in our writing,” Klemko said. “We’re going to say ‘Washington football team.’ And it’s not something we’re going to publicize or write about. We’re just not going to do it.”
I suppose one could argue that mentioning it in a radio interview available to listeners nationwide is publicizing it, and apparently publicizing it a bit prematurely. When King himself was reached for comment by The Big Lead, he said that no final decision had been made on the issue.
Well, it looks like the decision has been made, as announced by King in today’s column. So much for not publicizing or writing about it. King writes:
I’ve decided to stop using the Washington team nickname. It’s a name you won’t see me use anymore. The simple reason is that for the last two or three years, I’ve been uneasy when I sat down to write about the team and had to use the nickname. In some stories I’ve tried to use it sparingly. But this year, I decided to stop entirely because it offends too many people, and I don’t want to add to the offensiveness. Some people, and some Native American organizations—such as the highly respected American Indian Movement—think the nickname is a slur. Obviously, the team feels it isn’t a slur, and there are several prominent Native American leaders who agree. But I can do my job without using it, and I will. My 2,400-word story on Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and his unique approach to the read-option Thursday proved you can write about the team (insightfully, I hope) and not make a big deal about not using the nickname.
He goes on to explain the decision further, and explain that each writer on the site will make their own decision about whether or not to use the name. He also made it clear that it wasn’t a Sports Illustrated decision, and that “Redskins” would still appear in quotes and in tags on the site. SEO for the win.