Mascots and Media

Image credit: David Bernie,

                                                                Image credit: David Bernie

NAJA advises media to end use of offensive team names, images

A growing number of  journalists are denouncing the name of the Washington NFL team and limiting the way it is used in stories. The decisions come with the understanding that the term is derogatory toward Native Americans, and NAJA is encouraged by these writers' and editors' recent actions.

The conversations about the overtly racist term and the history and controversy that surround it should take place in all newsrooms. NAJA recommends more editors and writers take the lead in reexamining editorial policies regarding what is an offensive and dated word. 

It remains clear to NAJA that the highest ethical standards of journalism call for limiting the most egregious mascot names and images. Like the Washington football team name, the Cleveland Indians' caricature also reveals the deep level of institutionalized racism that remains within sports.

A list of those who have decided to stop using the Washington team's name in stories is available on this webpage, which NAJA has launched as a resource for media professionals and the public.

You'll also find web links to other pieces on the topic and NAJA’s own 2003 in-depth document on mascots. While many specific details within the report are no longer current, the document remains relevant in the overarching points it brings to light. 

This page will continue to be updated with media developments stemming from this issue.

Samples of longstanding policies against the term and recent journalists’ decisions:

NAJA strongly urges news outlets to limit use of racial team names and images.

Here are quick links to reference guides on this ongoing issue:

Publications, outlets and journalists limiting use of the Washington NFL team name:

As we document this topic as it pertains to news media, please let us know of other writers or outlets that have ended their use of the Washington football team name via our contact page.

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