News

Redskins hire PR firm amid fight over name

Redskins hire PR firm amid fight over name

WHAT'S IN A NAME?:The website redskinsfacts.com was launched this month and is billed as a grass-roots effort to defend the team's contentious name. Photo: Associated Press

By John Clarke

(Reuters) – The National Football League’s Washington Redskins have hired public relations firm Burson-Marsteller as it battles criticism that its name is a racial slur, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The company, which has long experience handling public relations crises, will run the website redskinsfacts.com. The site was launched this month and is billed as a grass-roots effort to defend the team’s contentious name.

“We have been retained by the Washington Redskins and the player alumni association to provide technical and editorial support to distribute information to those who inquire about the team’s history and name, which includes the website redskinsfacts.com,” said Burson-Marsteller spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan.

Native American groups have campaigned against the team name, charging that it is a racist stereotype.

A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office panel canceled six Redskins trademarks in June, saying they disparaged Native Americans. President Barack Obama has said that if he owned the team, he would consider changing the name.

Team owner Daniel Snyder has long defied calls to change the name, which dates from the 1930s.

The Redskins franchise said on Tuesday it was behind the redskinsfacts.com website. The site describes itself as “a growing online community of passionate Washington Redskins fans and others who support the team’s use of its name and logo.”

The site’s list of supporters include retired Redskins players Gary Clark, Chris Cooley, Mark Moseley, Ray Schoenke and Roy Jefferson.

Photos were posted this week on Twitter of the former players visiting a Chippewa-Cree tribe football camp and a rodeo school at the Rocky Boy’s reservation in Montana.

Burson-Marsteller’s clients have included the Blackwater USA security firm and Johnson and Johnson during the Tylenol poison scare in the 1980s.

Burson-Marsteller this week registered as online domain names TheRealRedskinsFacts.com and also DisputedRedskinsFacts.com, according to an Internet domain registration search.

The Redskins did not return calls for comment.

(Reporting by John Clarke in Annapolis, Md.; Editing by Ian Simpson and Peter Cooney)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Nebraska Highways Rate Highly

highway night

A study of pavement conditions, bridges, traffic congestion and other factors ranks Nebraska's roads number-two in the country.

in Local

Candidates For Iowa Governor Debate

WP-Microphone

The fertilizer plant under construction in southeast Iowa was a major point of contention during Saturday evening's debate between the two major party candidates for governor.

in Local

Chief Justice Worries About Partisanship

gavel

United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts told a Nebraska audience he worries the partisanship that grips Washington will spill over onto the Supreme Court.

in Local

Cell Towers Need Upgrades

cell tower

Several cell towers in Yankton County are in need of upgrades.

in Local

Winter Will Be Cold, Or It Won’t Be

sd winter

While the Farmer’s Almanac might be calling for a bitter winter, weather experts are saying that depends.