In a very elaborate act of wish fulfillment, someone made up a fake "Washington Redhawks" team website and fake websites for various media outlets to carry the "news."
Photo from FakeNews.news.fake
It's not prudent to bandy the term "fake news" about. After all, the term has become weaponized against real news in an attempt to delegitimize the truth. But this is some fake ass news.
Some elaborate hoaxers not only faked headlines, but several whole, individualized articles on what seems like purchased domain names that claim that the Washington Football Team changed their racist name to the Washington Redhawks. Heck, they even made a fake team website and a now-deleted twitter account for the hoax.
Here's a quick peek at the made up websites, in easily-digestible form:
Yup, it seems that the Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Bleacher Report, and The Washington Post websites were all elaborately recreated—even with unlinkable hit boxes over text. Who had the time to do this? What was their agenda? And why did they choose today of all days?
And you wouldn't be surprised to hear that the Washington Football Team, with their wretched owner, came out pretty quickly to denounce the hoax, re-emphasizing that indeed, they would keep their racist name forever.
Rudimentary site tracking on Whois.icaan.org points to the sites being set up in Paris, somehow. But maybe that was just a decoy. Either way, this is the fake news you want to be true. Sadly, that's exactly how real fake news works.
The hoaxers have identified themselves as Rising Hearts, a women-led Native American advocacy group. In a statement on the Washington Redhawks website and posted to the Washington Redhawks Facebook page, below, the group emphasized that the hoax was used as an example to show how "easy, popular, and powerful" it was to just change Washington's name. Here's a link to the statement in full:
The statement claims that the stunt was a collaborative effort among several people in the Native American community, and that since 1970, advocacy groups like Rising Hearts and their allies have helped take out two thirds of racist names in sports. But emphasized that there was still more work to do.
"Certainly the harm that the mascot does to Native Americans outweighs the very, very minor changes the franchise would need to make,” said Rebecca Nagle of the Cherokee Nation.
“We hope this brief moment inspires our country to imagine a world without racist mascots," said Sebastian Medina-Tayac of the Piscataway peoples, whose native lands RFK Stadium now stands on, according to the statement.