This Thursday, the Minnesota Vikings will take on the Washington Redskins at the Metrodome and the American Indian Movement (AIM) will be there in throngs, signs in hand, to educate football fans about why the Washington D. C. Mascot is a racist emblem. This week’s protest will not be the first, just last weekend the Washington team was met by protesters at the Mile High stadium in Denver, and these demonstrations will continue across the country as the movement catches fire. This controversy has had a slow build, but now in 2013 a burst of new major publications and broadcasters have joined the boycott of the team’s name, including MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Native Nations all over the country have been standing up to team owner Dan Snyder, who publicly stated last week that he still has no intention of changing the team’s mascot, even after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had a personal meeting with Synder over the mascot issue. This meeting was arranged on behalf of the Oneida Indian Nation in upstate New York who first called a meeting with Goodell. Even President Obama has weighed in on the debate saying if he were the Redskins he’d “think about changing it.”
There are many arguments about why the mascot shouldn’t be changed. Some say the tradition should overshadow the controversy. Some say it pays homage to the Native Americans, and should not be construed as a mockery of their culture. Some point to mascots like Minnesota’s own Vikings as a comparable caricature and a reason we should not be able to be offended. But critics say, why choose something that could be offensive at all if there are plenty of other mascot options that are far more benign? Ultimately, who gets to decide if it’s racist? This Monday morning, TTT’s own Andy Driscoll and Michelle Alimoradi discuss these points and more with our guests:
CLYDE BELLECOURT– Executive Director of the AIM Interpretive Center and co-founder of the American Indian Movement; former Minneapolis School Board Member
JOEY BROWNER-Former Vikings All-Pro Safety, Vikings Ring of Honor Inductee- One of just 21
CROW BELLECOURT- Musician, recorded the ‘Redskins!’ song with Larry Long.
LARRY LONG- American singer-songwriter