News & Politics

San Francisco Chronicle Will Stop Printing “Redskins”

“Make no mistake, ‘redskin’ is a slur,” the paper's managing editor says.

The San Francisco Chronicle is joining the list of publications that will not print the name of Washington’s NFL team, the paper’s managing editor confirms to Washingtonian.

“Our long-standing policy is to not use racial slurs—and make no mistake, ‘redskin’ is a slur—except in cases where it would be confusing to the reader to write around it,” Audrey Cooper writes in an e-mail. Going forward, the Chronicle will use the name in coverage of the ongoing controversy surrounding its use, but when it comes to coverage of the National Football League—for instance the San Francisco 49ers’ trip to FedEx Field on November 25—it will simply go with “Washington.”

Cooper says the change was recommended by one of the paper’s columnists and then considered by its style committee. The Chronicle plans to run a short explanation to readers in the paper.

In dropping the name of Washington’s football team, the Chronicle is adding itself to the Kansas City Star, Washington City Paper, DCist, Slate, the New Republic, Mother Jones, and several NFL columnists, such as Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. The Chronicle’s decision to stop using the team’s name could be one of the more impactful. The paper has a daily circulation of nearly 219,000 (301,000 on Sundays) and, unlike most of the publications that do not use the team’s name, publishes a daily sports section.

“Words are powerful, and so is how we choose to use them,” Cooper adds.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.