Following Slate's lead, the progressive magazine Mother Jones has announced that it will henceforth not refer to the Washington Redskins football team by its name because that name — with its obvious racial overtones — is offensive to Native Americans. This symbolic ban will no doubt impact the Mother Jones 2013 NFL preview everyone was eagerly anticipating.
Okay, fine, MoJo isn't exactly Sports Illustrated. The storied liberal magazine last gained national attention for posting Mitt Romney's infamous "47%" video — not analyzing Robert Griffin III's prospects. In fact, as our search of the magazine's website revealed, the only time MoJo referred to the Redskins in 2013 was today's announcement that it is no longer using the term Redskins. (The first article employing the new style rules was posted this morning.) "From here on out, we will refer to the team online and in print as 'Washington' or 'Washington's pro football team' or, if we get sassy, 'the Washington [Redacted].'" wrote MoJo's Ian Gordon, conceding that the style change was an "admittedly small gesture" for the publication.
Prior years have also not been Redskins-mentions-heavy for MoJo. In 2012, there was one mention: an article about George Allen, son of legendary Redskins coach George H. Allen. In 2011, MoJo used the term once, in an article about Romney describing how he had garnered the support of Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
That's a whopping three mentions in three years. But, give it to the folks at MoJo, they are not without a sense of humor. As Gordon wrote, "For those of you who come to Mother Jones for your breaking NFL news…never mind, I can't even."
Note: We were only looking for "Redskins" as a proper noun. A permutation of the word was used in a 2012 Q&A by Michael Chabon to describe the plot of John Carter, which he helped revise. And it appears in a 2011 syndicated article that uses the term to highlight how Americans tend to depict their enemies.