Meet your new Washington Pigskins — the name that Washington City Paper will use in the future to refer to the team led by RG3 in DC. The choice of “Pigskins” as new name came this month as a result of a contest the City Paper held with its readers. In taking this stand, like the Kansas City Star before it, The Washington City Paper provides clarity that media is not forced to validate and legitimize racist team names. It is a choice.

Despite owner Dan Snyder’s misinformed fight to keep its name, he has put no gun to any  sports editor’s head (although he can restrict media access). POPSspot is as guilty as any other media entity as falling into this trap, and from now on, this website will refer to this NFL team as the Pigskins unless a more favorable name is widely considered.

Bill Madden explains The Washington City Paper’s decision:

For years, the Kansas City Star has had an editorial policy against using the nickname for the NFL team that plays its games in Landover, Md. This weekend, the paper’s public editor took on some reader complaints about it. “I remain unconvinced by every argument I’ve ever heard that the name is not a racial epithet, plain and simple,” public editor Derek Donovan wrote. “I find it inconceivable that the NFL still allows such a patently offensive name and mascot to represent the league in 2012.”

We at Washington City Paper agree that the nickname ought to go. Yes, we realize opinion is split among Native Americans over the issue. But we have a hard time imagining a world where a modern pro sports team called itself, say, the Washington Kikes (to choose an example that picks on my own heritage), even if some Jewish fans didn’t mind.

To resistance in the comment section, Madden adds:

“The Native American Journalists Association asked news organizations 10 years ago to stop using the name, on the grounds that it’s offensive. Several other papers have done just that. I don’t really care why the name was first used; there is no question now that it’s considered offensive by at least some of the people who it describes.”

Ron Kills Plenty is one of those people. In the comment section, he describes provides some historical background:

To the Washington City Paper and whomever had the courage to do this in either a real effort to address this issue (or even if it was done for other reasons), I as a Native American who lives in this area but also have many relatives living on reservations in SD and MT, I thank you and salute you. No one’s equality or rights is truly ever valid until we at least respect each others. People argue over the meaning or origin of the name, I know what I was taught it meant by my elders. I know our US history in the treatment of its’s first inhabitants.

I remember this team doing their summer camps at Carlisle and wonder how many who support the team know the history of the Indian school there or ever visited the Indian children’s cemetery there or looked at the various grave stones marked “unknown”…. You would think that in our Nations capitol, where laws are passed, pressed, supported to insure equality for each of its’ citizens regardless of race, sex or religion that in that place at least we would not find in this time a team with a racist name.

Would the Washington Post consider following the lead of the Washington City Paper? If not, why not?

The last word on why Washington’s NFL name, Cleveland’s Chief Wahoo, and American Indian mascots all need to disappear goes to Russell Means who passed away last week.

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