The Washington Redskins were hit by a hoax Wednesday, with a series of series of fake news stories and websites claiming the team was changing its name to the Redhawks.
The parody campaign was created by Native Advocates to bring awareness to changing the mascot.
The hoax included a fake team website and fake Twitter account, featuring a press release to announce the supposed change. The site is called WashingtonRedhawks.com. The team's tagline is "A mascot everyone can cheer for."
The Redskins announced that they aren't changing their name anytime soon however.
The faux Redhawks' statement included a disclaimer that read: "DISCLAIMER: This website is a parody and is not endorsed by the Washington football team, the NFL, Dan Snyder, or any of their affiliates because, in 2017, these people think it’s still OK to use a racial slur for their mascot. This website was created by Native advocates to help us all imagine how easy and powerful changing the mascot could be. See our press release for more details."
Articles were also created to look similar to those from sites such as ESPN, Bleacher Report, The Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. The fabrications used headlines such "Washington Redskins to Change Name to Washington Redhawks." The sites locked almost identical save the URL, which though similar was incorrect to reveal the hoax.
Critics of the name say it's a racial slur that denigrates Native Americans. Washington owner Dan Snyder has repeatedly said he will never change the team's name.