The Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings will face each other on November 2 at TCF Bank Stadium, which is the stadium for the University of Minnesota. But the university and the Vikings franchise are teaming up to have the Redskins name not be used during the teams’ matchup.
According to a report from The Washington Post, University President Eric W. Kaler sent a letter to U.S. Representative Betty McCollum calling for the Washington Redskins name to not be used in “promotional and game day materials.” This was a response to a letter received by Vikings owner Zygi Wilf from McCollum – to which Kaler was copied. The Minnesota Democrat urged Wilf to “not remain silent on this matter any longer.”
“The time for debate has ended – the name of the Washington franchise is clearly an offensive racial slur,” McCollum wrote.
The letter was originally written by McCollum following the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to remove the Washington Redskins trademark registration.
In a related report from The Inquisitr, the decision to remove the trademarks for the Washington Redskins came after a presentation that included “dictionary definitions, newspaper clippings, movie clips,” and other evidence to prove that the name is considered offensive.
Washington Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said the team does not agree with the university’s efforts to ban the team’s name during the matchup, adding that some Minnesota residents are OK with it.
“We have met many Native Americans from Minnesota who agree with our position and feel we are using the term correctly and honorably,” Wyllie said.
Lester Bagley, the executive vice president for the Vikings’ public relations, said that, as of now, the team is uncertain how it will deal with the request to ban the Washington Redskins name during the November 2 game. The issue was discussed in late July, and Bagley said there are plans to meet again; he’s just not sure when.
“We take the issue very seriously, but we’re just getting ready for our season and we’ve been very focused on training camp and the preseason,” he said. “And, to be honest, we don’t have a game plan for our November 2 game versus Washington.”
And while many are calling for the Washington Redskins to change their name, owner Daniel Snyder still stands by his decision to keep it. During an interview with ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Snyder said the name is not meant to be offensive. It was created to “honor” the Redskins’ first coach, William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz.
“It’s just historical truths, and I’d like them to understand, as I think most do, that the name really means honor, respect,” he said.
Snyder added that the team sings Hail to the Redskins whenever the team scores a touchdown. The lyrics are: “Hail to the Redskins. Braves on the warpath. Fight for old D.C.”
“That’s the problem because last season we didn’t sing it quite enough as we would’ve liked to,” he joked.
When asked for his definition of “Redskin,” Snyder said it’s “a football player” and “our fans.”
“The Washington Redskins fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride. Hopefully winning,” Snyder added. “And it’s a positive. Taken out of context, you can take things out of context all over the place. But in this particular case, it is what it is. It’s very obvious.”
[Featured image credit: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall via Yahoo]
[Inline image credit: Brace Hemmelgarn — USA Today Sports via Fansided]