“I’ve decided to stop using the Washington team nickname,” Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King says in a column.
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.
King notes that his Sept. 5 story about Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan doesn’t use the term and doesn’t “make a big deal about not using the nickname.” He says he’s not speaking for anyone but himself: “I decided to make my own decision, then allow the other writers and editors on the site to do what they want.” The term will also appear in “Web tools that categorize stories for searches,” he writes, such as the “Washington Redskins” tag at the bottom of his Shanahan story.
Washington City Paper, where I used to work and which Redskins owner Dan Snyder once sued, doesn’t use the term. Neither do DCist, The Buffalo News’ Tim Graham, or The Kansas City Star (under normal circumstances).
I continue to maintain that a superior name for the team is the Washington Department of Football, an idea dreamed up by Huffington Post reporter Arthur Delaney.