There has been an extended debate concerning the mascot name for the NFL's Washington Redskins. Now another party has joined the conversation and is looking to take action.
The University of Minnesota—which will host the Minnesota Vikings for home games during the 2014 season—want to ban use of the team name when the Washington franchise comes to town in Week 9. Ian Shapira of The Washington Post provided the details:
The University of Minnesota is working with the Minnesota Vikings in an effort to keep the Washington Redskins’ name from being used in “promotional and game date materials” during the NFL teams’ Nov. 2 game at the school’s stadium in Minneapolis, according to an Aug. 1 letter from university President Eric Kaler to U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum had previously written a letter to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf explaining her position on the issue, saying, "The time for debate has ended — the name of the Washington franchise is clearly an offensive racial slur. I urge you, as an NFL team owner, to not remain silent on this matter any longer."
This issue has become more prevalent over the past year as more and more people get involved on each side. Many believe the name is offensive and disparaging toward Native Americans and that it should be changed, while others think it is a non-issue.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder recently defended the name in an interview on ESPN's Outside the Lines. He explained how the context has changed and so has the meaning of the word, via ESPN.com:
A Redskin is a football player. A Redskin is our fans. The Washington Redskins fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride. Hopefully winning. And, and, it, 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.
He also said in an interview with Chris Russell of ESPN980 that he spoke to Native Americans who respond well to the name:
Still, the latest stance by the University of Minnesota could end up becoming significant, especially if the Minnesota Vikings support them in the move. If other teams follow suit, it could send a serious message to the league office that the name is unacceptable.
ESPN's Keith Olbermann believes this is important:
It remains to be seen what kind of impact this will have on the potential name change, but it is clear this issue is not going away any time soon.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.