Time to Retire the R-Word


Mother Jones has joined the ranks of publications that refuse to utter the name of Washington DC’s pro football team. In fact, that’s now what our style guide calls them: “Washington’s pro football team.” Personally, I’d prefer the Victorian era affectation of using initials. I never quite understood why old novels were littered with things like Mr. K—- or Bishop M—–, but why not make use of it anyway? We could refer to Washington’s pro football team as the R—–s. This has the added advantage of automatically giving it the veneer of vulgarity. Dan Snyder’s team would be the R-word, to go along with the N-word and the C-word and all the others.

But here’s a question: Is there a similar movement afoot to change the name of Cleveland’s pro baseball team and Atlanta’s pro baseball team? It’s true that the I-word and the B-word are less offensive than the R-word, but on the other hand, the team logo in Cleveland sure beats Washington for offensiveness. And that hatchet thing in Atlanta is just plain annoying. I know that both those teams have taken some heat for their names, but not as much as Washington. Anyone know if that’s changing?

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