It’s not just a public perception issue either. A federal lawsuit alleging that the name constitutes a racial slur against Native Americans is pending. Figures in the city of Washington and in the football world have questioned the choice to keep the name.
Now, the journalists have joined in.
As of Friday (Aug. 9), at least eight publications had formally stated that they would no longer print the name “Redskins.” ThinkProgress, Slate, The New Republic, Mother Jones, the Washington City Paper, DCist, the Kansas City Star and the Buffalo News. Few of these publications are known for their in-depth football coverage, but it may be the beginning of a movement.
What is the goal of all this? While the journalists’ efforts are mostly to have an impact in the psychological realm, legal issues with the name target the Redskins trademark. If the current lawsuit is won, the government would have to void the team’s trademark on the grounds that an offensive term cannot be protected.
For now, nothing is going to change unless pressure or penalties force the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, to adopt a new name. Snyder does not seem to be interested. “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps,” the NFL owner told USA Today in an interview.
While “never” might be too strong a word, change does not seem imminent, no matter what publications decide not to print.