Count Minnesota congresswoman Betty McCollum as one who strongly supports changing the name of the Washington Redskins. In fact, McCollum is concerned about the matter so much that she sent a letter to Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf on Thursday urging him to publicly condemn the Redskins name.
“The presence of the Washington franchise with their racist name on campus would be in violation of the Board of Regents’ Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action Policy,” McCollum, Democratic co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, wrote. “Mr. Wilf, I believe you are a man of integrity. Therefore I am calling upon you to (add) your voice to the millions of Americans who are calling for this racist mascot to be changed.”
In case you aren't aware, McCollum references the game in November where the Vikings will play host to the Redskins on the University of Minnesota's campus.
The rest of the letter reads as follows:
Dear Mr. Wilf:
Yesterday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled to cancel legal protections for the trademarked name of the National Football League’s Washington franchise because it is “disparaging to Native Americans.” 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.
Thirty-one NFL franchises split the sales of their licensed merchandise equally. As you well know, when a shirt, cap, or jersey bearing the Washington team name is sold, the Minnesota Vikings share in the profit from that sale. After yesterday’s decision, NFL owners must now ask themselves if they want to continue to profit from a name so hurtful to our Native American brothers and sisters that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office deemed it ineligible for federal protection. By taking a stand to change the mascot, you can send a very clear message to Native Americans and all Americans that your organization no longer wishes to benefit from the commercialization of that hateful slur.
In November, the Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to host the Washington franchise for a game on the University of Minnesota campus at TCF Bank Stadium. As the Vikings will be a co-host with the University on their campus, I would like to remind you of three facts. First, Minnesota has a strong Native American community and TCF Bank Stadium honors that community with a plaza recognizing each of our tribal nations. In addition, one of those tribal nations, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux, contributed to the funding of this stadium. Lastly, the presence of the Washington franchise with their racist name on the University of Minnesota campus would be in violation of the Board of Regents’ Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action Policy.
Mr. Wilf, I believe you are a man of integrity. Therefore I am calling upon you to publically demonstrate leadership on behalf of your organization and the people of Minnesota by adding your voice to the millions of Americans who are calling for this racist mascot to be changed and for Native Americans to be treated with respect and dignity by the NFL. A strong condemnation of the Washington franchise’s name by the Minnesota Vikings Football Club will go a long way towards helping to change the mascot.
Is anyone else extremely annoyed at the controversy surrounding the Redskins nickname? Although arguments can be made for both sides, the reality here is that there are far greater issues our government should be addressing other than the operations of a professional sports team.
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