Redskins deny name change to 'Redhawks' after internet hoax

The Associated Press

The hoax spread so wide, so fast, the Redskins felt compelled to publicly acknowledge it, issuing a statement Wednesday to inform their fans they had not, actually, changed their name to the "Redhawks".

If you thought the Washington Redskins recently had changed their team name, we can't blame you.

Among the spoof sites included mockeries of ESPN Sports, The Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. The United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team's trademark on the nickname in 2014, noting that it was "disparaging to Native Americans".

Within hours after publishing the announcement, the Native American advocacy group the Rising Hearts Coalition admitted that it was behind the faux name change in a separate statement.

The Washington Redskins confronted the rumors over Twitter Wednesday afternoon. "Dan Snyder honors Native Americans, changes team mascot to Washington Redhawks", reads the headline on the site claiming to be ESPN.

DISCLAIMER: This website is a parody and is not endorsed nor affiliated with ESPN. The team's tagline is "A mascot everyone can cheer for".

Until the press release, Rising Hearts had done a good job masking itself.

Rising Hearts, a DC-area group, revealed itself on Wednesday afternoon as the creator of these sites, stating in a press release that they are part of a "culture-jamming" effort to push Washington's National Football League franchise to change its name, which is widely defined as a racial slur against Native Americans.

Changing the Redskins name would be easy, Medina-Tayac said, because it's only a four-letter difference between Redskins and Redhawks.

A Washington Post poll released previous year found 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the name, but a rival study by the Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies at California State University, San Bernardino found 67 percent of Native Americans considered the name racist. The goal of this action is to show that the need for a new mascot is real and immediate.

The activists behind the online action, Rising Hearts, are hosting an in-person press conference in Washington DC this Thursday December 14th at 2PM at the George Preston Marshall Monument in front of RFK Stadium. Supporters can join also join a rally at FedEx Field this Sunday.

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