The fake URLs, washpostsports.com, sportsillustrated.news, espnsports.news and washingtonredhawks.com were recently created.
"We created this action to show the NFL and the Washington Football franchise how easy, popular and powerful changing the name could be", says Rebecca Nagle (Cherokee Nation), one of the organizers of the stunt. The fabrications used headlines such "Washington Redskins to Change Name to Washington Redhawks".
Fake websites were made to look like legitimate sites of the Washington Post, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report and featured fake news stories related to the supposed name change, citing names of real people including activists, politicians, fans, Redskins coach Jay Gruden and team owner Daniel Snyder, the Post reported.
The alliance of activists pulled off the stunt with a fake Twitter account and bogus webpages, one carefully resembling the team's own home website, that announced the Redskins name was changing to the Redhawks. The sites locked nearly identical save the URL, which though similar was incorrect to reveal the hoax.
The Washington Redskins confronted the rumors over Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
The websites look incredibly similar to the actual sites they're meant to imitate.
The Native advocates eventually released a statement to explain their reasoning for the effort that fooled many online. The story, entitled "Go Washington Redhawks!" was formatted similarly to the stories that appear on the team's official website. The stories reported the Redskins caved on changing its name, which some claim is derogatory to Native American people.
"As a native person that grew up in Washington D.C.", Medina-Tayac, who helped organize the hoax, said.
"This morning, the Redskins organization was made aware of fraudulent websites about our team name", a Redskins spokesperson said in a statement.
"What we're asking for changes only four letters".
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.
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