The debate over the Washington Redskins’ nickname has waged on for the last few decades, but it has taken center stage over the last year. On Wednesday, the United States Patent Office canceled the patent for the team name and now we’ve got newspapers banning the use of the word “Redskins.”
On Wednesday night the Seattle Times announced it was banning the use of the Washington football team’s nickname in its paper and on its website. According to the Seattle Times sports editor Don Shelton, the paper is banning the nickname for one reason and one reason only.
“We’re banning the name for one reason: It’s offensive. Far from honoring Native Americans, the term colors an entire race. Many Native Americans consider it an outdated label placed on their people.”
It was a decision nearly 20 years in the making, and that’s because over 20 years ago the paper decided to limit the use of the word “Redskins” to begin with. At that time, the newspaper banned the use of the word in captions or headlines and limited the use of it to just once per article.
However, the ban isn’t as all encompassing as the Seattle Times wants us to believe either, as they point out in their own editorial on the matter:
“We’ll allow the name in stories like this that deal with the controversy. The Associated Press news service we subscribe to still allows it, and we have automated online feeds that we aren’t able to monitor 24/7. Still, we will remove the name from articles published in print or edited for our website.”
Between the patent issue, Native American tribes putting out ads in the NBA Finals and newspapers banning the use of the term there is clearly a growing segment of the population against the use of the nickname.
Will it change Daniel Snyder’s mind? Doubtful, considering Snyder’s recent responses to calls to change his team’s name. But, putting more public pressure on him is clearly the aim of this decision and others like it.