Panel discussion will put the spotlight on offensive team nickname issues
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Washington Redskins' name and logo will not be welcome at the University of Minnesota next month, but the team's perspective will be. A panel discussion on offensive nicknames in sports is planned for Oct. 30, a few days before...
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Washington Redskins’ name and logo will not be welcome at the University of Minnesota next month, but the team’s perspective will be.
A panel discussion on offensive nicknames in sports is planned for Oct. 30, a few days before the university’s TCF Bank Stadium plays host to the Vikings and Redskins game. Panelists will include American Indian Movement co-founder Clyde Bellecourt and - perhaps - representatives from the NFL and Washington’s team.
“We have not heard back from them about their availability and their willingness to participate,” said Katrice Albert, the university’s vice president for equity and diversity.
The panel discussion will be the centerpiece of a series of events in the run-up to the football game that will call attention to the use of stereotypical Native American imagery. The Coffman Memorial Union will feature about 200 items in that vein in its art gallery and will screen the 1997 documentary “In Whose Honor? American Indian Mascots in Sports.”
Albert said many students and staff want to demonstrate opposition to the team’s nickname, while others don’t understand the objections. These events and others planned for November, which is Native American Heritage Month nationally, will explore those issues.
“Our mission is to provide education and to facilitate dialogue,” she said.
There were protests outside the Metrodome the last time Washington visited the Vikings, and the university is preparing for more of the same before and during the Nov. 2 game. The university is letting the Vikings rent its stadium for home games while the team builds a permanent home in downtown Minneapolis.
In August, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler asked the Vikings to keep its opponent’s nickname off promotional and game materials at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings have said they have an obligation to market their opponent, but talks with the university continue.
“We’re still in conversations with the Vikings and we have not gotten final answers to the request,” Albert said.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has defended the continued use of the name, maintaining it honors Native Americans, not disparages them.
Spokesmen for the two teams did not answer requests for comment.
If you go
The panel discussion on offensive mascots will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Great Hall at Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis. For details on other events, go online to bit.ly/UMNPanel .