Change the Mascot Praises The Washington Post for Decision to End its Use of the Washington NFL Team’s Offensive R-Word Name

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The Change the Mascot campaign issued the following statement today in response to The Washington Post Editorial Board's decision to no longer use the offensive R-word name when referring to the Washington NFL team.

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The Washington Post Editorial Page has made the appropriate and honorable decision to no longer use the R-word name.

The Washington Post today declared that its editorial pages will no longer use the derogatory R-word when referring to the Washington NFL team. “While we wait for the National Football League to catch up with thoughtful opinion and common decency, we have decided that, except when it is essential for clarity or effect, we will no longer use the slur ourselves,” The Washington Post said in its statement today.*

In response to the the decision by one of the country’s top newspapers to boldly oppose the name of its hometown NFL team, National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata and Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, who lead the Change the Mascot Campaign, stated:

“The Washington Post Editorial Page has made the appropriate and honorable decision to no longer use the name. When news organizations use this word in any context, they are endorsing it and legitimizing it by inherently promoting it as an acceptable term. It is not acceptable - it is a dictionary-defined racial slur that countless Native Americans, civil rights groups, religious groups and elected officials from across the country have said should be changed. For news organizations, there is no “objective” way for a media outlet to regularly promote this term without simultaneously endorsing it. Media outlets must decide which side they are on. Are they going to continue promoting a racial slur or are they going to stand on the right side of history? We hope they choose the latter by following the lead of The Washington Post and other publications that are no longer willing to tolerate this term.”

The Washington Post's decision to have its editorial page stop referring to the team by the offensive R-word places it in the company of a wide variety of other news publications and leading journalists. Mother Jones, which also has opted to stop using the name, has a list on its website which includes the following publications: Oregonian, Washington City Paper, Kansas City Star, DCist, Gregg Easterbrook (, Slate, The New Republic, Tim Graham (Buffalo News), John Smallwood (Philadelphia Daily News), Peter King (Sports Illustrated and, Bill Simmons (ESPN and Grantland), Christine Brennan (USA Today), Matthew Berry (, San Francisco Chronicle, Syracuse New Times, Seattle Times, Richmond Free Press, Orange County Register, William C. Rhodan (New York Times), Washington Business Journal.**

In addition to prominent journalists and publications, the Change the Mascot campaign has continually garnered a wealth of support from top thought leaders across the country and internationally. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, civil rights and advocacy organizations, top sports icons, religious groups, and even President Obama have all spoken out against the team’s continued use of the epithet.

*Washington Post editorials will no longer use ‘Redskins’ for the local NFL team, 8.22.14,
**Here Are the News Orgs That Won't Name DC's [Redacted] Football Team, 9.19.13,

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Jim Heins
Oneida Indian Nation
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