Fake websites that say Redskins changed name make rounds


Earlier today, a series of stories appeared to hit major news organizations like the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated.

The National Football League team in Washington D.C. changed its name to Redhawks.

The Washington Redhawks hoax turned out to be one of the most believable fake news stories in recent memory.

The hoax included a fake team website and fake Twitter account, featuring a press release to announce the supposed change.

"We created this action to show the NFL and the Washington Football franchise how easy, popular and powerful changing the name could be", Rebecca Nagle of the Cherokee Nation said in a news release that identified her as "one of the organizers of the stunt". "It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect-the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans". Washington Football has always been about our loyal fans, who have rooted us on for 85 years.

A page created to look like an exact replica of the Washington Post declared "Native Leaders Celebrate a Victory as Washington Football Changes Mascot to the Redhawks", but a closer look at the site's URL reveals that it's not a genuine article.

Fake websites that say Redskins changed name make rounds

There have been at least three false news stories from sources posing as Sports Illustrated, the Washington Post, and ESPN, which were circulated Wednesday morning alleging the team had finally folded to calls for a name change, Politico reported.

The two webpages that surfaced were actually very well made, which is why some fell for the news on December 13.

The other fake site created was a parody of ESPN, and the webpage looked exactly like the ESPN home page does on both mobile and web browsers. "Just four letters! Certainly the harm that the mascot does to Native Americans outweighs the very, very minor changes the franchise would need to make".

Later, Peggy Flanagan, a Native activist from Minnesota, tweeted that the article and fake website were an "elaborate hoax".

The Redskins announced that they aren't changing their name anytime soon however.

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

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