Oklahoma Daily Refuses to Use Term ‘Redskins’ in All Future Stories

The Oklahoma Daily is “jumping on the bandwagon,” enacting a new permanent editorial ban on the use of the word “Redskins” in all news copy “unless we are quoting someone else’s words.”

With the decision, the campus newspaper at the University of Oklahoma, home to the Sooners, joins a growing number of student and professional media taking a stand against a term editors increasingly deem derogatory. The self-censorship is a protest most squarely aimed at the Washington Redskins. The NFL team’s owner has repeatedly declared the name-change argument moot. In his words, “We’ll never change the name, it’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

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In a recent editorial purposefully timed to run just before the start of Native American Heritage Month, the OD’s leadership wrote:

“In respect for Native Americans, we believe it’s time for the team to find a new name. … We understand the name has a history, and preserving history is typically what most would support. But sometimes it’s necessary for change to occur, and in this case, it’s past time. … Various national newspaper publications and reporters have declared their opinion on the matter. One by one, they are ceasing to print articles and columns using the word ‘redskins’ unless they’re referencing the controversy itself or quoting someone else saying it. And here at the Daily, we’re ready to implement that notion, too.”

For inspiration on implementing and defending the ban, the Daily reached out to Audrey Cooper, managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. The daily in the Golden Gate City also recently sent “Redskins” to the editorial scrap-heap. Cooper’s two cents:

“I think newspapers — whether it’s a big distribution paper like ours or it’s a college newspaper like yours or a weekly that gets circulated in a neighborhood — have a responsibility to help set the tone for civic dialogue that is also civil and civic. It’s difficult to do that if you’re OK using racial slurs. … There were a lot of things that were around 100 years ago that wouldn’t be put up with today, like denying black people the right to vote.”

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