NPR has issued a new policy regarding the use of the ‘Redskins’ name in their reporting, though its use has not been banned completely.
The Washington Professional Football Team. The team. Washington.
Many networks and major sports media members have opted to stop using the mascot name when they discuss the Washington Redskins. The problem is, how often can you lean on the crutches to not the say the name before you lose clarity in what you are trying to say in the first place?
That is the balance that National Public Radio (NPR) is trying to strike. Seven months ago, NPR said that they would continue using the controversial name. This week they announced a change to that policy in the interest of trying to use less offensive language.
NPR did not go so far as to say they will stop using the name, however, because they feel avoiding the name sometimes comes at the detriment of their journalistic efforts. Here is the wording in the change to their policy (from NPR.org):
Again, we are not prohibiting the use of the full team name. At times, it will have to be used – particularly when reporting about the controversy. At times, it may sound awkward to refer to the club as “Washington” or “the team.” Clarity in our reporting is vital. In some cases, achieving that clarity will require using the team’s name (for instance, to distinguish the club from Washington’s other sports teams). Guests will surely use the word Redskins during interviews.
But we can also be sensitive, avoid overuse of the word and use alternatives – as we would with other potentially offensive language.
This seems like a reasonable balance to strike. NPR readily admits that they have rare occasion to report on the Washington Redskins. It will be interesting to see if more prominent sports networks follow this type of lead for their radio and television coverage.