CAPITAL controversy: Ottawa Citizen, TSN, CFL use REDBLACKS, sensible media decline

55 Yard Line

Amazingly, the Ottawa Redblacks' bizarre request to have media refer to them in ALLCAPS, which became an international punchline earlier this year, is catching on at some outlets. A story in The Ottawa Citizen Tuesday from Gord Holder about the rescheduling of the expansion draft used REDBLACKS in both the headline and the body, and TSN columnists Matt Dunigan and Chris Schultz also utilized their CAPSLOCK buttons this week. (It's not a bad fit in Dunigan's piece, actually, considering his excited style and high usage of exclamation marks: there are 16 in that column.) Unsurprisingly, the league website is following suit, frequently using REDBLACKS in a story about Ottawa's staff Wednesday. That's going to lead to an awful lot of SHOUTING down the road. The team doesn't even start CFL play until the 2014 season, but they're already offending plenty of internet users, and they're going against the flow: even the tradition-bound U.S. Navy is switching away from their traditional ALLCAPS messages.

However, plenty of other media outlets are holding the line on the stylistic and sensible front. Just this week, "Redblacks" has been used by The Calgary Herald and The Ottawa Sun (so the REDBLACK mafia hasn't gotten to all the local media yet!), and it's been confirmed by The Canadian Press sports desk as their style (many Canadian outlets start their own policies with CP style, so that's an important one). Moreover, "RedBlacks" has been used by The Edmonton Journal, The Province (Vancouver), The Winnipeg Free Press and The Hamilton Spectator. It would be sensible for the team to agree on either "Redblacks" or "RedBlacks," as those are reasonable names that most media outlets would be willing to print. Their lack of comment on that front and insistence on "REDBLACKS" makes it a every-outlet-for-itself scenario, though.

Here at Yahoo! Canada, we'll be using "Redblacks," but we may still sub in "Rouge et Noir" whenever possible, as this silly and controversial name sounds far better in French. It's not really a huge deal, of course, as each outlet can do whatever they want in terms of style (and even on the name front, this is nowhere near the level of a controversy over, say, "Redskins"), but it's funny to see how this is playing out, and it reinforces the silliness this Ottawa franchise has shown by demanding something that most media simply aren't going to do. (Then again, this is still better than their "Cut Your Waiting Time" ad.) Really, the Ottawa stories this week should be about how they have a plethora of impressive backup quarterbacks to keep an eye on. Instead, the franchise has made itself a distraction with this ALLCAPS effort, and if some media outlets keep caving into them, they're going to be regularly mocked over it.

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