On one web page sporting a Washington Post banner that looked strikingly like the D.C. publication's actual website, activists posted a wishful, but false, article saying the football team was changing its name.
Earlier today, a series of stories appeared to hit major news organizations like the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated.
But the story was in fact a very real example of the Fake News Media at work.
The sites appear nearly identical to the news sites aside from different urls
This website was created by Native advocates to help us all imagine how easy and powerful changing the mascot could be. "The name of the team is the Washington Redskins and will remain that for the future".
Wednesday morning, a Native advocacy group calling themselves "Rising Hearts" unveiled a social media campaign accompanied by a series of spoof websites announcing the Washington Redskins would be changing their name to the Washington Redhawks.
The sites appear almost identical to the news sites aside from different urls.
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The Redskins addressed the hoax Wednesday afternoon.
"The hawk was chosen to represent the strength, speed, and courage of the Washington Redhawks' players", a faux announcement on the hoax website read. "A tweet from the "@redhawksdc" said "The Washington Football team is proud to announce a new mascot!
The Native advocates eventually released a statement to explain their reasoning for the effort that fooled many online.
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In the immediate aftermath of this event, the Washington Redskins released the following statement from their official Twitter account to ensure that people were aware that their name hadn't changed.
"The point of this was to start the conversation again", Sebastian Medina-Tayac, one of the organizers of the stunt, told the Washington Post.
Rising Hearts is holding a news conference Thursday at the George Preston Marshall Monument in front of RFK Stadium, and there will also be a rally outside FedEx Field on Sunday, before Washington hosts the Arizona Cardinals. "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".
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The debate over the name, which opponents see as offensive to Native Americans, had quieted since the Department of Justice gave up its legal fight over the issue in June.
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