By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Sources say The Detroit News will no longer use the team name for the Washington Redskins, adding fuel to the long debate about whether the NFL team’s moniker is derogatory to Native Americans.
A Detroit News staffer confirmed to CBS Detroit that employees received a memo saying the newspaper and its website will no longer use the team’s name “in routine football coverage, reflecting the growing view that the term is offensive to many Americans.”
Instead, reporters were told to describe the NFL franchise as “Washington” or the “Washington football team.”
This comes as the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled last Wednesday in a 2-1 decision that the Redskins’ trademark protections should be canceled, a decision that ESPN says “applies new financial and political pressure on the team to change its name.”
ESPN added that “although the Redskins name and past logos are involved in the decision, the trademarks that were canceled do not include the current Redskins logo.”
Team owner Daniel Snyder has refused to change the name despite mounting protests.
The News’ decision to stop use of the name follows suit with the Seattle Times, which also said last week it will no longer use the word Redskins in stories about the Washington, D.C., NFL team.
The sports editor said last Thursday the name is “absurd, offensive and outdated.”
Other newspapers have also stopped using the Indian reference that many find unacceptable, the Associated Press said..
The Times previously had a policy to minimize the use of “Redskins” by keeping it out of headlines and photo captions and limiting it to once per story.
Interestingly, this happens a small group of Virginia state lawmakers announced this week they formed a “Redskins Pride Caucus” to defend the Redskins’ football team, according to the Associated Press.
At a news conference at the state Capitol lawmakers took turns praising the team and recalling long-ago victories against arch-rival, the Dallas Cowboys.
“This is also about making sure that we protect our businesses, and be a voice for them to say ‘we’re not just going to let you get beaten up by Washington,'” said Republican Del. David Ramadan.
At the news conference, lawmakers said they did not think the name was derogatory, a view they said was shared by many Native Americans.
*The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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