U of M hopes to ban 'Redskins' during November Vikings game


The University of Minnesota is working with the Minnesota Vikings on a plan that would disallow the use of the Washington Redskins nickname when they visit the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in November, according to the Star Tribune.

U of M President Eric Kaler wrote letter on Aug. 1 to U.S. Representative Betty McCollum in which he said the Redskins name is “offensive and should be replaced.” He also assured McCollum that the university is working with the Vikings to "eliminate the use" of Washington's nickname when they visit the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on Nov. 2.

Kaler was responding to a letter McCollum wrote in June imploring Vikings owner Zygi Wilf to oppose any use of Washington's "racist" team name, according to MN Daily. She also said the promotion of the Redskins name would violate the Board of Regents’ Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action Policy.

Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of stadium development and public affairs, said the team takes the issue "very seriously" but doesn't yet have a "game plan" for their game against Washington.

Deadspin tracked down a response from a Washingon team spokesman.

Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said Wednesday night that the team disagrees with the school's effort to bar the Redskins' name for the game at TCF Bank Stadium, the University of Minnesota stadium. "We have met many native Americans from Minnesota who agree with our position and feel we are using the term correctly and honorably, " he said.

The Vikings hosted and defeated Washington last year in a game played at the now demolished Metrodome. The Metrodome's stadium panel denied requests to ban the name from multiple groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union.

Governor Mark Dayton was quoted last year as saying the Redskins name is "racist." Sports announcer Bob Costas called it an "insult" and a "slur," and former Viking safety Joey Browner joined the American Indian Movement's march to the Dome last year to protest the nickname.

The Vikings will spend the next two NFL seasons playing at the Gophers' home stadium before moving into their own new $975 million stadium in 2016.

Washington's owner Daniel Snyder maintains that his team's name isn't going to change.

“A Redskin is a football player,” Snyder said in a not-yet-released interview with ESPN, via the Washington Post. “A Redskin is our fans. The Washington Redskin fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride. Hopefully winning. 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.”

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