No name change: Washington Redskins will not be the 'Redhawks' as Internet hoax claims

No name change: Washington Redskins will not be the 'Redhawks' as Internet hoax claims (AP)

The disinformation campaign was extremely elaborate Wednesday when American Indian activists created several fraudulent websites, that looked very legitimate, alleging that the Washington Redskins football team had changed their name to the "Washington Redhawks."

A fake official "Redhawks" website was created, along with a fake Twitter account, a logo and several phony articles that were made to appear as if they had come from prominent publications, such as the Washington Post, ESPN and the Bleacher Report, all aimed at giving credence to the notion that Washington’s football team had changed its name. The "fake news" was widely shared on social media sites.

By Wednesday afternoon, the team released an official statement to shut the rumors down. The franchise says the Redskins name is here to stay.

Read the team's statement below:

"This morning, the Redskins organization was made aware of fraudulent websites about our team name. The name of the team is the Washington Redskins and will remain that for the future."

Native advocates for the name change, who revealed themselves as the Rising Hearts Coalition of Native American Activists, released an official statement as well. They say, "We created this action to show the NFL and the Washington Football franchise how easy, popular and powerful changing the name could be."

ABC7's Brad Bell reports the activists are planning a press conference for Thursday and also may hold a rally outside of FedEx Field in Landover Sunday.

On Wednesday night, ABC7's Tom Roussey talked with a member of the Piscataway tribe who helped organize the hoax.

Sebi Medina-Tayac says even if some were upset about the hoax it got people talking.

“The offense and harm people felt is the offense and harm that Dan Snyder puts against our people every day when he decides to keep that racist name. It’s not us. It’s Dan Snyder," Medina-Tayac said.

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