MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Minneapolis officials are looking into ways to ban the Washington Redskins from using their team name in the city.
The city council this month ordered its attorney to review the legality of a potentially banning the Redskins from using their name or logo at the TCF Bank Stadium the Vikings lease from the University of Minnesota, the Twin Cities Daily Planet reports.
Local American Indian advocacy groups, meanwhile, plan to welcome the Redskins with a massive student protest when they come to town Nov. 2.
“I think it’s really important that we take a deep look at what we can and cannot do,” city councilman Blog Yang said.
Officials are concerned a ban on the Redskins when they visit Nov. 2 could cause First Amendment issues. Legal experts also believe a ban could raise issues with other professional sports teams, such as baseball’s Cleveland Indians, that some might consider offensive, according to the news site.
Councilman Cam Gordon said he has doubts about the city’s ability to ban the Redskins, but believes the move is necessary because the team would degrade American Indian tribes many of the state’s counties are named after.
“It’s unfortunate that we have some out-of-town business coming in here (that) is going to be spoiling the good efforts of everybody to have a sensitive city, and a sensitive University, and a sensitive stadium, even,” Gordon told the news site.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCullum, and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler have put pressure on the Vikings to ban the Redskins name, but does not have any authority to make the team comply, officials told the media.
“We are leasing the stadium to the Vikings, but our contract does not allow us to dictate their schedule or who they play,” Kaler said. “But we have made a request that they do not use that name in the stadium or promotional material.”
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The American Indian Movement – a Minneapolis-based activist group – is organizing a massive student protest of the Redskins when they come to town next month. The American Indian Movement, along with the National Coalition n Racism in Sports and Media first raised issues with the Redskins coming to Minneapolis this summer.
“We’re no longer going to take it,” Clyde Bellecourt, AIM’s founder, told the Daily Planet.
The whole situation raises some interesting questions:
Why, after playing the Redskins for decades, are Minnesota officials suddenly concerned with being a “sensitive city” that picks and chooses which sports team names are acceptable?
And if the Redskins name is offensive to American Indians, wouldn’t those with Viking lineage consider Minnesota’s team name offensive?
Why does the rules of racism apply to one ethnicity and not another?
Why are Minnesota officials targeting the Redskins and not other sports teams with Native American or ethnically based names?