In 1994, a reporter from the Baltimore Sun named Roger Simon wrote: “The Washington Redskins are being sued by American Indians who argue that the term ‘Redskin’ is ‘degrading, offensive, scandalous, contemptuous, disreputable, disparaging and racist.’ At least three major newspapers — the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Portland Oregonian and the Salt Lake Tribune — will not print the name ‘Redskins’ in their pages.”
Uni Watch reader Lindsay Resnick spotted the 19-year-old Sun story and sent it to Paul Lukas, the blog’s editor. He forwarded it to me with this note: “This was in 1994! I was not aware of newspapers (or any other media outlets) boycotting the Redskins’ team name at that time. Also, while several newspapers are currently boycotting the team’s name, I don’t think the list includes the three papers mentioned in that 1994 BaltSun piece. So did those three papers go back to using the team’s name? If so, when and why?”
I emailed the sports editors of the three papers and received responses from two.
The Oregonian’s Seth Prince: “Our policy on Native-themed mascots and nicknames remains in place as it has since 1992. Here is a link with more context. If you’ve seen the word in the printed paper please let me know; it may occasionally slip through despite our best efforts.
“Online, we have the same policy for local and wire stories that we post ourselves. There are parts of OregonLive, however, that have automated AP feeds over which we have no control, and the nicknames do appear in those stories. We don’t, however, push those to the more prominent pages of the site.”
Salt Lake Tribune’s Joe Baird: “We implemented the ban under a previous management team. The nickname was restored after a management change. At the start of this season we reinstated the ban.”
Star Tribune’s Glen Crevier: “The policy was reversed under [former editor] Anders Gyllenhaal in June 2003. It has not changed and there are no plans to do so now.”
Update — Tim McGuire writes on his ASU blog: “In 1994, as Editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune I banned the use of Indian nicknames to describe sports teams. My sports staff was not happy and criticism came from many quarters. Among other things, we were accused of being self-aggrandizing.”
* From 1994 — The Chinks’ nickname: it’s not PC, it’s decency (baltimoresun.com)