Call to change name of Washington Redskins intensifies
Published Wednesday, August 14, 2013 9:12AM EDT
Online magazine Slate recently joined a growing list of publications taking a stand against the term "redskins", saying it will no longer use the racial slur to describe the Washington-based NFL team.
Slate executive editor Josh Levin says while he understand fans' passion for keeping the name alive, there's no excuse to continue using the term solely because it's associated with a football team.
"People just associate (Redskins) with football, because the word has been banished from our vocabulary," Levin told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday.
The publication announced last week that it would join other publications that have decided to ban the use of the term, and instead it will refer to the team as simply "Washington," or "Washington's NFL team."
Shortly after the decision was made public, two other online publications announced it would do the same.
The team's owner, however, continues to resist pressure from media outlets, politicians and Native American activists.
Earlier this year, Daniel Snyder told USA Today he would never change the name, saying it was part of a great tradition.
Meanwhile, a U.S. appeals court is expected to soon deliver a ruling on a lawsuit launched by a group of activists who say the Redskins trademark cannot legally be protected because it's a racial slur.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has also said there should be discussion with the team about changing the name, and in May a council member suggested the team change its name to the "Redtails"
In announcing the decision to abandon the term "redskins", Slate editor David Plotz encouraged the Washington Post to follow suit.
"The Post is -- along with ESPN and the other NFL broadcasters -- one of the only institutions that could bring genuine pressure on Snyder to drop the name," Plotz writes.
A Washington Post poll conducted in June showed two-thirds of residents surveyed said the team's name should not change, but among those who want to keep the Redskins’ name, 56 per cent said they feel the word “redskin” is inappropriate.
"What that suggest to me is a lack of empathy," Levin said. "Native Americans have been so marginalized here, that people don't really understand how offensive it is to this group of people."