The Kansas City Star has a policy against referring to the Washington team as the Redskins. This tidbit came out in responses to an interview with Kent Babb, columnist for the Kansas City Star who is moving to the Washington Post in a week. Presumably, Babb will be using the word “Redskins” a lot more frequently in his new role.
The Kansas City Star, of course, covers another team that uses an Indian mascot, the Chiefs. While the policy has been in place, there have been a few occasions where the name has been included in pieces (Five since 2009, according to MediaKC.com).
The Star’s reader representative, Derek Donovan, explained his position:
And here, I also agree very strongly with The Star’s longtime policy on this matter. I remain unconvinced by every argument I’ve ever heard that the name is not a racial epithet, plain and simple. And I’ll even break my usual rule about commenting on issues outside The Star’s journalism to say that I find it inconceivable that the NFL still allows such a patently offensive name and mascot to represent the league in 2012.
I almost always come down on the side of publishing a word when it’s the crux of a debate (as I did here in the first paragraph). It isn’t healthy for discourse to pretend any words or thoughts don’t exist.
But I see no compelling reason for any publisher to reprint an egregiously offensive term as a casual matter of course. As brighter minds than mine have noted, nobody would be surprised if a newspaper or website decided not to name a team that used any other racial slur. I don’t understand why this should be any different.