University of Minnesota to Washington Redskins: No racial slurs on our field
The Washington Redskins are scheduled to play the Minnesota Vikings at the University of Minnesota campus on Nov. 2, but university staff and Minnesota lawmakers are working to keep their team name from being used: 'Native Americans ... will be respected, not disparaged.'
University President Eric Kaler gave the assurances in an Aug. 1 letter to U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat who has said using the name would violate school policies on equity and diversity.
Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said the organization is sensitive to the issue, especially given Minnesota's significant Native American population.
He said NFL policies obligate the Vikings to market the Nov. 2 game as they would any other game. When asked if that meant the Redskins' name would be used, Bagley would only say that the Vikings will continue talking with university leaders and leaders of the Native American community as the game draws near.
"It's an important issue, and we take it seriously," he said.
Bagley said the Vikings have already met with university officials and more talks are expected but nothing has been scheduled.
McCollum issued a statement Thursday saying she is pleased Kaler is talking with the Vikings.
"The University of Minnesota should live up to its values," McCollum said. "This includes ensuring an environment on campus in which Native Americans and all Americans will be respected, not disparaged."
Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie told the Washington Post that the team disagrees with the school's effort. He says the team has met with many Native Americans from Minnesota who feel the team is using the term honorably.