MEDIA

Washington Post 'Redskins' Column Includes Racially Charged Language Online, But Not In Print

A sign hangs on the outside of the Washington Post Building August 6, 2013 in Washington, DC, the day after it was announced
A sign hangs on the outside of the Washington Post Building August 6, 2013 in Washington, DC, the day after it was announced that Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had agreed to purchase the newspaper for USD 250 million. Multi-billionaire Bezos, who created Amazon, which has soared in a few years to a dominant position in online retailing, said he was buying the Post in his personal capacity and hoped to shepherd it through the evolution away from traditional newsprint. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Warning: This post contains strong language.

NEW YORK –- Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank on Tuesday weighed in on the controversy over Washington’s football team continuing to use the name "Redskins," despite criticism that the term is insensitive to Native Americans.

Milbank used racially charged language to explain why he thinks the team's name is problematic.

To see whether it’s right to use ‘Redskins’ as a mascot, NFL owners gathering in Georgetown on Tuesday for their fall meeting should substitute some other common racial epithets and see how they would sound: The Washington Wetbacks? The Houston Hymies? The Chicago Chinks? Or perhaps the New York Niggers? That would be enough to send anybody to the shotgun formation.

But that provocative part of Milbank’s column only appeared online, with the print version reading as follows:

To see whether it's right to use 'Redskins' as a mascot, NFL owners gathering in Georgetown on Tuesday for their fall meeting should substitute some other common racial epithets for Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and Jews and see how they would sound. That would be enough to send anybody to the shotgun formation.

Fred Hiatt, the paper's editorial page editor, explained to HuffPost why different language was used online and in print.

"I was the decision maker on the online version, and felt that use of these words, which we ordinarily would not allow, was justified in this context," Hiatt said in an email. "The editor overseeing the print version made a different call, which I certainly understand."

Hiatt oversees Milbank's columns in print when they run on the opinion pages, but not his "Washington Sketch" column that runs twice a week on page 2 of the paper. The Redskins column was a "Washington Sketch" piece.

Several media outlets, including the Washington City Paper, Slate, The New Republic and Mother Jones have recently stopped printing the team's name. The issue has received more attention in recent days as President Barack Obama said he'd consider changing the name if he was the team's owner.

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