Minnesota’s Betty McCollum Touts ‘Decade’ of Work to Change Washington Redskins Name

Native American groups held a protest outside U.S. Bank Stadium last year when the Minnesota Vikings hosted the Washington Redskins for Thursday Night Football.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) praised FedEx and Nike for their efforts to pressure the Washington Redskins into changing the team’s “harmful” name and mascot.

“I have been working on this for almost a decade because I believe all people, including Native Americans, should be treated with dignity and respect – and not dehumanized as mascots,” McCollum said in a statement.

FedEx, the official sponsor of the team’s stadium, formally asked the Washington Redskins Thursday night to change its name. Nike then removed all official Redskins gear from its online store.

The team announced Friday that it will conduct a “thorough review” of its name and mascot “in light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community.”

“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” said Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins.

McCollum said the latest developments are a “tipping point” in the movement to “change the name of the Washington football team.”

“Now that the corporate community is joining the movement and putting the dignity of people over profits, it is a true example of transformative change and signals that we are at a tipping point. I commend Nike, FedEx, and others for taking action. Now it is up to the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell, and team owner Dan Snyder to do the same. Change the mascot. Change the name,” she said.

Snyder, however, said in a 2013 interview that he would “never change the name.”

“It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use caps,” he said. In other interviews, Snyder has argued that the mascot connotes “honor” and “respect.”

Native American groups held a protest outside U.S. Bank Stadium last year when the Minnesota Vikings hosted the Washington Redskins for Thursday Night Football.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to anthony.gockowski@gmail.com.
Background Photo “Washington Redskins” by Keith Allison. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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