SBD/August 7, 2014/Franchises

Univ. Of Minnesota Urges Vikings To Omit Redskins' Name From Promo Material For Nov. Game

The Univ. of Minnesota is working with the Vikings to keep the Redskins' name "from being used in 'promotional and game date materials'" during the teams' Nov. 2 game at TCF Bank Stadium, according to Ian Shapira of the WASHINGTON POST. A letter dated Aug. 1 from UM President Eric Kaler to U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) was in response to a June letter from McCollum to Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf urging him "to condemn the Redskins' team name." She indicated that Wilf "needed to take a stand against 'that hateful slur' because all of the NFL teams split the sales of their licensed merchandise equally." Vikings Exec VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said that the team and UM officials "met once on the issue, in late July at the university, but plan on further talks between now and November." Shapira notes it is unknown whether UM "decided to take its own action based on McCollum's encouragement." The Vikings are playing at UM's football stadium the next two seasons while their new facility is being built (WASHINGTON POST, 8/7).

THE NAME GAME: Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder this week defended the team's name in several media appearances, including ESPN playing a snippet of a longer interview set to air in full next month. As part of the defense, Snyder noted the team has traveled to various Native American reservations and is providing financial aid to several tribes. Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said, "I would applaud him for at least investigating the matter -- going to reservations, starting a foundation. ... He's putting some money into it and some thought into it. However, I still think he's got the wrong side of the equation here." Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Tuesday became the latest public figure to call for a name change, and Cowlishaw said, "The problem now is if you have a governor, if you have some Congressmen coming after him, he could be perceived as the little guy fighting against the politically correct." Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, “When you have Congress involved, the President, when you have people throughout the country talking about, ‘You have to change the name,’ I believe it's going to happen sooner than later." However, the N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola said he does not think the name "is going to change anytime soon" unless there is "more pressure put on" the team and the NFL. Meanwhile, ESPN's J.A. Adande said, "Snyder’s defenses are indefensible. For example, he cites ‘Hail to the Redskins’ as an example of how this is honoring Native Americans supposedly. He doesn’t realize that at one time that fight song included the words, ‘Fight for old Dixie,’ and then they had to change it because maybe it wouldn’t feel right to represent the Confederacy” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/6).
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