A caller this morning expressed his incredulity that The Star doesn't normally print the name of Washingon's NFL team: the Redskins.
"With all of the other things there are to worry about in the world, like homelessness and wars, why does anyone worry about this?" he asked.
As I've said many times, I'm not big on comparisons unless they're awfully close parallels, and I fail to see any relationship between war and the name of a football team.
And here, I also agree very strongly with The Star's longtime policy on this matter. I remain unconvinced by every argument I've ever heard that the name is not a racial epithet, plain and simple. And I'll even break my usual rule about commenting on issues outside The Star's journalism to say that I find it inconceivable that the NFL still allows such a patently offensive name and mascot to represent the league in 2012.
I almost always come down on the side of publishing a word when it's the crux of a debate (as I did here in the first paragraph). It isn't healthy for discourse to pretend any words or thoughts don't exist.
But I see no compelling reason for any publisher to reprint an egregiously offensive term as a casual matter of course. As brighter minds than mine have noted, nobody would be surprised if a newspaper or website decided not to name a team that used any other racial slur. I don't understand why this should be any different.