With a decision on a name change for the Washington Redskins looming, one communications expert already is considering wider ramifications related to the team’s nomenclature. Dr. David Burns, professor of communication at Salisbury University (MD), has written about journalists’ ethical dilemmas in using the “Redskins” name while covering the team in his 2018 book Case Studies in Sport Communication: Yo Make the Call

In the chapter “The Offensive Line,” Burns and co-author Dr. James Rada explore the paradox of principle vs. profit, noting both societal and financial pressure for media covering the team to use its officially approved nickname. “Should more media outlets abandon the use of the word ‘redskin’ in their coverage of the NFL football franchise?” they ask. “Maybe the real question is, why have they not done so already?” 

Burns, a Scripps Howard Foundation Visiting Professor and senior research fellow at UNESCO’s Crossings Institute for Conflict-Sensitive Reporting and Intercultural Dialogue, is available for media interviews on the topic.

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