MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A coalition demanded Thursday that the NFL team from Washington be barred from using its “Redskins” name on University of Minnesota turf.
The National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media held a news conference outside TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1q9vzoU ) reported. The Minnesota Vikings are leasing the university’s stadium for two seasons while their new $1 billion stadium is built on the site of the former Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.
The coalition contends that university administrators have been unwilling to meet with them to discuss the issue.
In a statement, the university said it cannot regulate expression by private parties on its property. In leasing the stadium to the NFL team, “the University did not get the right to exclude the Vikings because of the offensive name of its opposing team,” the statement said.
The coalition vowed to keep fighting and plans to hold a rally outside the stadium on game day, Nov. 2.
The university and the activists actually want the same things. Earlier this month, the university publicly asked the Washington team to keep the Redskins name off jerseys, promotional materials, announcements and merchandise sold during the game. The activists say they also want fans barred from wearing “denigrating face paint” or headwear.
The coalition said it is considering a lawsuit if its demands aren’t met. Members of the group said they believe the university has unilateral authority to stop the use of the Redskins’ name on the campus facility. They cited the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination in public places.
The university disagreed with that interpretation.
“As much as the university agrees with the National Coalition in denouncing the name of the Washington team,” it doesn’t believe there is a legal basis for preventing a scheduled game, the statement said.
Among those at the event was Henry Boucha, an Ojibwe from Warroad and an Olympic hockey silver medalist. He called the name “one of the most horrific words in history.”
“We’re not mascots,” said former Vikings player Joey Browner, who said he has American Indian heritage.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed never to change the name, saying it honors Native Americans.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com
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