The debate over the use of the name "Redskins" to refer to the professional football concern in Washington took a new turn this week when Robert Klemko, a writer for "Monday Morning Quarterback," a Sports Illustrated website, announced that the site will no longer use the "Redskins" name.
"I know that our site, we’ve talked about it, and we’re not going to use Redskins in our writing," Klemko told CBS Sports Radio. "We’re going to say ‘Washington football team.' And it’s not something we’re going to publicize or write about. We’re just not going to do it."
What will be interesting to see is whether Sports Illustrated as a whole will follow MMQB's lead. MMQB, for those not familiar, is a boutique site set up around Peter King, the longtime SI fixture with extensive NFL credibility. Of note: King told The Big Lead that "no final decision has been made." (The "Washington Redskins" tag remains live on the site.)
Slate made news a few weeks ago by noting that it wouldn't refer to the Redskins by name. But that's a different media outlet, one with little reason to cover an NFL team. MMQB isn't in the belly of the beast, it IS the beast, part of the media machine that keeps the NFL atop the sports news cycle every minute of every hour of every day. If a site with the imprimatur of King, one of the most established voices in the NFL, can make this change, it sends a definitive signal to the team, the league and to fans: it's time to take a hard look at this name.
Regardless of what team owner Daniel Snyder and a vocal group of pro-Redskins-name fans hope, wish or believe, the name issue's coming to a head. Somebody sometime soon is going to ask Robert Griffin III, point-blank, if he supports the use of the name "Redskins." And the way he answers will determine the shape of this story for the immediate future. If he thinks the name should go, it'll eventually go. And if he thinks it should stay? Then Snyder has all the court-of-public-opinion weight he needs to fend off any critics.
This story's not going anywhere, folks, like it or not.