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The New Republic was among a handful of highbrow, liberal publications that banned the name of Washington’s football team from their pages last year—-a group that also includes Slate and Mother Jones. But sharp-eyed TNR readers may have noticed that last week’s cover story—-a profile of Alex Trebek, of all things—-in fact featured the R-word:
Mostly, he unwinds by watching television. “Breaking Bad” and “Deadwood” are recent favorites; the Lakers a constant. During football season, he follows the [Pigskins], whom he doesn’t think should change their name.
“They weren’t called the [Pigskins] because we thought [Pigskins] were terrible; it’s because we admire their strength, their abilities,” he says.
Two of those instances, you’ll notice, occur within quotes, but the third does not. (The merits of Trebek’s stance on why the team should keep its name is fodder for another article, which has already been written many, many times.)
A search through the archives indicates that, since announcing it wouldn’t use the team name, the New Republic (where I was once a reporter-researcher fellow) has reported on the Pigskins two times—both times adhering to the ban and both times, well, writing about the controversy surrounding the team name. (Slate and Mother Jones have mostly kept with their policies, though Mother Jones has used the team name in a headline and in a post that was originally published on the website TomDispatch.)
So are the higher-ups at TNR suddenly convinced by Pigskins owner Dan Snyder‘s arguments in favor of the team name? Eh, probably not.
“I considered falling on my sword over this transgression of policy,” editor Frank Foer wrote in an email. “But then was persuaded that we were just paraphrasing a game show host.”