Sports Illustrated's Peter King will stop using the nickname 'Redskins'

Sports Illustrated

"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.

Slate announced last month it would stop using the term. So did The New Republic and ("in an admittedly small gesture") Mother Jones.

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.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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