October 15, 2014

Ban "Redskins" at Vikings game?

Native Americans plan to mount largest-ever Redskins protest at Vikings game

By John Woodrow CoxNext month, the Washington Redskins will fly to a state with a governor who has called their mascot racist, drive to a university with a president who wants their moniker changed, arrive at a stadium built with the help of a multimillion-dollar tribal donation and be greeted with what organizers hope is the biggest-ever protest of the team’s name.

Minnesota Native American leaders, student organizations and other activists have been preparing for weeks to stage demonstrations outside the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, where the Redskins will play the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 2. Organizers say Native Americans from at least seven states intend to join.

The game will probably draw even more attention after Native Americans on both sides of the issue made public appearances at Sunday’s game in Arizona. Before kickoff, more than 100 protesters marched outside the stadium as, not far away, a pregame party was held for Native Americans who support the Redskins. The team tweeted a photo of a Zuni family dressed in Redskins gear, and, during the game, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly was shown on TV wearing a Redskins cap as he sat next to team owner Daniel Snyder.

Snyder has vowed to keep the name, which he contends honors Native Americans. The team has cited polls showing that a majority of Americans—and even a majority of Native Americans in one 10-year-old survey—do not find the team name offensive.

Opponents of the name hope the Nov. 2 protest will be much louder.
Minneapolis investigates banning Redskins name

The city’s attorney will say whether Minneapolis can prohibit the team’s name and mascot

By Ethan Nelson
After shaking up University of Minnesota administrators and other policymakers, the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins has moved downtown to City Hall, where elected officials are mulling a ban on the NFL team’s name.

Because of a City Council vote earlier this month, the city attorney will investigate whether Minneapolis has legal authority to ban the football team’s name and logo when it plays the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on Nov. 2.

Though the attorney’s office will provide its opinion by next Wednesday, some city leaders aren’t confident they can take legal action.

“I have my doubts,” said Cam Gordon, who represents the University and surrounding areas on the City Council.

He said there might be issues with the ban violating freedom of speech. And at a council committee meeting late last month, the councilman called the issue a “minefield.”
Groups press U to take on NFL, ban DC team's mascot from stadium

By Alex FriedrichThe University of Minnesota isn't using all its legal leverage to block the use of the Washington Redskins' name and logo at the university's stadium, say critics who have been pressuring the franchise to change its name.

St. Paul attorney Larry Leventhal, a board member of the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, contends that the team's use at a Nov. 2 game between the Minnesota Vikings and Washington at TCF Bank Stadium violates the university's stadium lease agreement with the Vikings.

"What we're observing is an apparent effort by the university to kind of give lip service to what the contract says," Leventhal said.

University officials have said they can only ask the Vikings not to use the controversial name and logo in connection with the game.

But Leventhal said the lease does give the university officials some legal power.

He said use of the logo and name "Redskins" violates this section of the contract:The Vikings shall not take any action or use any language in its use of the Facilities that might reasonably be expected to offend contemporary community standards, such as use of words regarding sexual acts, defamatory language, or language that might denigrate any class or group of people.Coalition members say many Native Americans and others find the "Redskins" name racially offensive and therefore subject to the clause.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Navajo President Sits with Snyder and Natives Protest Redskins in Phoenix.

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