Redskins deny name change after hoax

Ross Houston
December 14, 2017

An activist group called Rising Hearts created several fake web pages and launched them Wednesday morning, announcing that Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder had made a decision to change the team's long-debated name to the "Washington Redhawks". "The Franchise is proud to be a leader in bringing people together in the DMV and in our country during a time of growing divisions", the fake release stated.

Fake news stories were posted on what appeared to be very real, sports websites including Sports Illustrated and ESPN.

Redskins' owner Dan Snyder, who has refused to consider changing the nickname, insists it's a tribute to Native Americans.

LOOK: Elaborate hoax has hit the internet saying Redskins are changing their name

In the immediate aftermath of this event, the Washington Redskins released the following statement from their official Twitter account to ensure that people were aware that their name hadn't changed.

"We created this action to show the NFL and the Washington Football franchise how easy, popular and powerful changing the name could be", says Rebecca Nagle (Cherokee Nation), one of the organizers of Rising Hearts.

The Justice Department announced in June it was giving up the legal fight over the name of the Redskins after the Supreme Court's decision in Matal v. Tam in favor of an Asian-American band calling itself the Slants. "Just four letters! Certainly the harm that the mascot does to Native Americans outweighs the very, very minor changes the franchise would need to make".

Four sites mimicking large outlets, including a fake site that is a mirror of, the team's official home page, were created with fake stories about the name change.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists alike have been protesting the team name for at least half a decade. I also think that in our current political climate, a satirical action is an important tactic for us to be able to use.

The team's name has been the center of controversy for its history as a derogatory term and racial slur.

A Washington Post spokeswoman provided a link to the newspaper's own report on the stunt, but declined to comment further.

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