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Erik Arneson

Why You Can't Say "Redskins" on ESPN

By August 7, 2004

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This year's national Scrabble championship, portions of which will air on cable sports channel ESPN, included a bit of three-letter word controversy. According to the Associated Press, a player who attempted to play "lez" -- short for lesbian, and ordinarily acceptable in Scrabble play -- learned that it was on a list of "offensive words" which were not permitted at this tournament. Eric Chaiken, director of the documentary Word Wars, pointed out one true irony: "The ultimate absurdity is that you can't play the word 'redskins' on ESPN." An NFL team is nicknamed the Redskins.

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