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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Washington Post Editorial Board Abandons Use of Slur

August 25, 2014 - Posted by Patrick McNeil

In an editorial on August 22, the editorial board of the Washington Post revealed it would no longer use the name of Washington’s football team in its writing – a move that does not affect the publication’s sports and news coverage of the team, but one that has already been taken by other publications in opposition to the team’s continued use of its offensive mascot.

“But the matter seems clearer to us now than ever, and 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,” wrote the editorial board. “That’s the standard we apply to all offensive vocabulary, and the team name unquestionably offends not only many Native Americans but many other Americans, too.”

Before the editorial board’s announcement on Friday, Washington Post reported on Mike Carey, an NFL referee who – for almost all of the final eight seasons of his career – refused to officiate games when Washington’s team was a participant. Carey, who now works for CBS Sports, will have the ability to decide whether or not to use the team’s name on air – a policy announced by CBS Sports last month, and one that ESPN announced over the weekend they will also implement.

The editorial board’s decision is the latest in a growing list of challenges to the team’s name, though it is one that is particularly local in a pool of more national objections.

In June, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six federal trademark registrations for the team’s name, and a month earlier, 50 U.S. senators wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell urging the team to change its name.

In December 2013, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights voted unanimously at its national board meeting for a resolution also urging a name change.

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