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Nation Notes: Journalism P.C. and The Sports Page

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Readers of the Portland Oregonian will soon notice a big change when they read the sports pages. Starting this week, the state’s largest daily (circ. 354,000) will no longer publish the names or nicknames of sports teams that employ racial or ethnic stereotypes, such as the Braves, Redskins, Indians and Redmen. Instead it will refer only to the cities or states where they play.

“The Oregonian is sensitive to the feelings of those in our society who are rightly offended today by names and nicknames that came into being when a majority in this country was insensitive to minority concerns,” explains Oregonian editor William A. Hilliard. Such stereotypes “damage the dignity and self-respect of many people in our society.” He hinted that the paper would not rule out the possibility that other team nicknames could be added to the banned list.

Native Americans, who have long protested the use of the nicknames, applauded the newspaper’s decision. “It’s going to take things like this to keep this rolling,” said Clyde Bellecourt of the recently formed National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media. “I’m really excited about something like this happening.”

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