San Francisco Chronicle gives up ‘Redskins’


(LM Otero/AP)

The pre- and postgame coverage of the Redskins’ upcoming meeting with San Francisco will read a bit differently in the 49ers’ home town, now that the San Francisco Chronicle became the latest media outlet to stop using the word “Redskins” in its pages. The move was first reported by Pro Football Talk.

Managing Editor Audrey Cooper explained the move in an e-mail to Poynter. (She also sent a similar e-mail to Politico.)

Our long-standing policy is to not use racial slurs — and make no mistake, “redskin” is a slur — except in cases where it would be confusing to the reader to write around it. For example, we will use the team name when referring to the controversy surrounding its use.

Absent the media attention on this issue, I doubt any reader of the San Francisco Chronicle or SFGate.com would have noticed our choice to use to use “Washington” instead of the team name. We are choosing to use another word that accurately describes what we are writing about.

We are not the first media outlet to make this change, and I know we will not be the last.

She’s certainly correct on the first point. A partial list of those who have said they won’t use the word includes:

The Kansas City Star

Peter King

Bob Costas (who said he has attempted not to use the phrase)

The radio voice of the Cowboys (who has similarly said he’s attempting it)

The Buffalo News’s Tim Graham

The Philly Daily News’s John Smallwood

USA Today’s Christine Brennan

DCist

Washington City Paper

Slate

Mother Jones

Meanwhile, The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan V. Last wrote a lengthy examination of the Redskins name thing in that publication’s newsletter on Wednesday. As an Eagles fan, Last said he used to want the name to change to spite Washington fans, but then changed his mind because of how ” the mob gathering for the Redskins” resembles other left-wing causes. An excerpt:

Asked about the Redskins name, NFL chief Roger Goodell idiotically said that “if one person is offended we have to listen.” At the risk of stating the obvious, America’s a big country. And we invented this information-sharing device—it’s called the internet—that exists to help people feel offended. About everything.

So if we pretend that Snyder changes “Redskins” to “Warriors” and not one person—in all of America!—is offended today, well…what happens if people start taking umbrage to it next year? Or the year after that?

Seen in this light, then, the question of the name “Redskins” is really about just one thing: As V.I. Lenin used to ask, “kto kogo?” Or, “Who? Whom?” The issue isn’t offense or sensitivity. It’s simply power. We seem to be seeing a lot of that in American life these days.

That said, whatever they do with the name, I’m going to enjoy watching the Redskins limp to a 5-win season and listening to them talk the entire time about how the playoffs are just within reach.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
Comments
Show Comments
Next Story
Sarah Kogod · October 30, 2013