If the past couple of weeks have taught us anything, it's that the public shouldn't expect the NFL to be progressive on any social issue, much less one that affects the viability of one of its most recognizable brands.
No, it turns out that ground zero for the debate over the use of "Redskins" as a mascot is not in professional sports, but in the newsroom of a Pennsylvania high school.
You might recognize Neshaminy High School's The Playwickian from some of our past coverage. In June, we profiled the school's internal disagreement over its use of Redskins as the school's mascot. An editorial in the paper condemned the use of the mascot. Its writer, Emily Scott, described the reaction as "scary."
Nevertheless, The Playwickian pressed on with its proclamation that it would cease using the term "Redskins" going forward. That stance received a harsh response earlier this month, when editor-in-chief Gillian McGoldrick was suspended from the paper for a month.
At the same time, the paper's faculty adviser, Tara Huber, also received a two-day suspension without pay. The suspension was handed down by district Superintendent Robert Copeland.
Neshaminy High's leadership has dug its heels in the ground on this issue, and the conflict between school officials and the student newspaper has been steadily building for the past year. This has constituted a number of disciplinary threats from the principal, as well as confiscated copies of issues of the newspaper and even a $1,200 deduction of funds from the newspaper's spending account.
School officials also tried to block the newspaper from accessing its social media accounts.
Those students running the paper may appear to be outmatched, but fortunately there is some positive news: Press freedom advocates from the Student Press Law Center have stepped in to offer their support. Although the involvement of attorneys did not dissuade the school from suspending McGoldrick and Huber, the SPLC has helped increase the national media attention this story is receiving.
Also worth noting is that The Playwickian is not the first to make such a resolution. Several newspapers and news outlets, including the New York Daily News, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Kansas City Star, no longer refer to the professional NFL team by their official nickname.
Even Phil Simms, a former NFL quarterback now serving as an analyst for CBS Sports, has said he won't say the nickname out loud during any games he is assigned to broadcast. Super Bow champion coach Tony Dungy is doing likewise on NBC.
Unfortunately, supporters of the Redskins mascot have proven to be remarkably stubborn about the issue. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has said before that he will "never" change the team's mascot. It appears Neshaminy High's leadership has adopted a similar tone.
But then again, it's always amazing how the bright spotlight of national media scrutiny can spark such a sudden change of heart. Just ask the NFL.