Tags: NPR | Redskins | NFL

NPR Won't Entirely Scrub 'Redskins' From Its On-Air Playbook

By    |   Tuesday, 14 October 2014 03:01 PM

Just before the Columbus Day holiday, National Public Radio (NPR) posted on its website a change in its policy concerning the use of the term "Redskins" in its news coverage.

The Oct. 10 guidance memo states that NPR news "does not plan to prohibit the use of the full team name," but would more strictly enforce its policy on "potentially offensive language," which strictly limits use of that language "to situations where it is absolutely integral to the meaning and spirit of the story being told.”

The network said Redskins would not be prohibited because the "team’s name is the name and our job is to report on the world as it is, not to take a position or become part of the story."

The change was made despite the network's own acknowledgement that it does not have "much occasion to report on this club."

Noting that "clarity" is important, the memo went into tortured detail about when it would or would not be used.

"Headlines about the team (on the few stories we might post about the club that aren’t about the name controversy) can be a difficult issue. 'Seahawks Crush Redskins' can be changed to 'Seattle Crushes Washington.' But 'Giants Crush Redskins' can’t become 'New York Crushes Washington' because a reader wouldn’t know if we’re referring to the Giants or the Jets," said the memo.

In August, The Washington Post editorial board announced that the issue of whether to use Redskins "seems clearer to us now than ever," and therefore, "we have decided that, except when it is essential for clarity or effect, we will no longer use the slur ourselves."

Other media outlets also have weighed in on whether they will use Redskins. The Detroit News and Seattle Times are implementing a ban, while ESPN and CBS Sports will leave it to the reporter's discretion, reports WRIC.com.

Efforts to restrict the use of the team name have gained steam this year.

On Sept. 2, a George Washington University law professor and activist filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) challenging the license of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder's WWXX-FM (ESPN 980) over the broadcast of the name "Redskins."

At the end of September, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler expressed his personal opposition to the term but said the agency would "be dealing with that issue on the merits, and we will be responding accordingly," the National Journal reported.

The FCC announcement follows a June 18 decision issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that said the Washington Redskins team name and images were disparaging to Native Americans and so are ineligible for trademark.

In its 2-1 ruling in the ongoing case of Blackhorse v. Pro Football Inc., the administrative tribunal determined that the Blackhorse petitioners established "by a preponderance of the evidence" that the term "Redskins" was "disparaging of Native Americans, when used in relation to professional football services."

The team has appealed the ruling.

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Just before the Columbus Day holiday, National Public Radio (NPR) posted on its website a change in its policy concerning the use of the term "Redskins" in its news coverage.
NPR, Redskins, NFL
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 03:01 PM
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