When Dan Snyder’s Washington Redskins arrive in Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Vikings for their NFL game on Thursday night, he might be asked to defend more than just their 3-5 record.
That’s because six members of the Minneapolis City Council are calling on Snyder to change the team’s name and mascot.
In an open letter addressed to Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the council members condemned “the racism inherent in the ‘Redskins’ name” and promised to take action.
“We join those Minnesota residents who will be protesting outside Mall of America field in condemning the racism inherent in the "Redskins" name,” the Council members wrote. “We call on the owners of the franchise to change the team's name, and on the National Football League to take the necessary actions to convince the franchise owners to change the name.”
Protests pushing for a new team name have been organized by the American Indian Movement's local groups, by Idle No More, and by the Oneida Indian Nation’s “Change the Mascot” campaign. AIM will join other groups to protest the Redskins name at the Vikings/Redskins game tonight.
In fact, a series of radio ads sponsored by the “Change the Mascot” campaign, have preceded or coincided with the Redskins arrival in almost every city in which the team has played road games. On Thursday, the ad entitled “Holdout,” will air in Minneapolis on KFAN-FM.
This new ad takes a slightly different tone than the four ads that the campaign has already broadcast. It accuses Snyder of using hate speech.
The narration in the ad says, “At one time hate speech was all too common in this country. From African-Americans being called the N-word to derogatory terms for Hispanics, European immigrants and others, our history is scarred by the language of bigotry. Modern society agrees this kind of language is unacceptable, but there are still some holdouts such as Washington's NFL team.”
During a meeting last week with the NFL, the Oneida Nation asked Goodell to use his power to refer Snyder for possible sanctions if he continued to use a slur that was “detrimental to the welfare” of the NFL’s image.
The Minneapolis City Council and the Washington, D.C. City Council have urged Snyder to stop using the racist and derogatory word. The D.C. Council passed a resolution on Tuesday calling on Snyder to change the team’s name.
“We appreciate the strong support our efforts have received from Congresswoman McCollum and others in Minnesota,” said Ray Halbritter, CEO and representative of the Oneida Nation in a press release. “The Change the Mascot campaign to end the use of the damaging R-word is not going away.”
ICTMN has also learned that Olympian Billy Mills is in route to Minneapolis and will protest with the group at tonight's game.