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 Sports, Viral Videos

Marshawn Lynch doesn’t want to get fined

23-overlay5

The Seattle Seahawks running back has a goal for Media Day.

in Viral Videos

School announces snow day with ‘Let It Go’ parody

22-overlay5

Who needs robocalls when you can declare school closures through song?

in Lifestyle

Drunk driving less likely in cities with Uber ride services

Uber West Coast Regional Manager William Barnes sits in the back of a car during a photo shoot Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in Las Vegas. The ride sharing company has begun operations in Nevada.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving works with Uber to establish ride service rights in cities around the world.

in Entertainment

Benedict Cumberbatch apologizes for ‘colored’ remark

Benedict Cumberbatch attends a special screening of "The Imitation Game" at the DGA Theater on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Benedict Cumberbatch is "devastated" after realizing he caused offense during a chat about diversity on Tavis Smiley's late-night show.

in Sports, Viral Videos

Marshawn Lynch holds an “awesomer” press conference

23-overlay4

"You don't feel in beast mode. It feels you."