Metrodome will use 'Redskins' name in stadium despite protests

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

There's not much hotter right now than the debate over the Redskins name. Rumors are swirling that the team is interested in switching to Bravehearts and American Indian groups are rallying to protest Washington's football mascot.

One group even asked the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to stop using the name in and around the Metrodome. The American Indian Movement, targeting the Redskins-Vikings game in prime time on November 7, asked the MSFA to ditch "Redskins" inside the stadium, on programs and over public-address announcements.

"Our word is no different than the N word," AIM leader Clyde Bellecourt said. "Would they have a mascot here called Little Black Sambo? Oh, no."

However, Jay Lindgren, an attorney for MSFA, said that doing so would "arguably" qualify as a restraint on free speech.

“You would be engaging, I think, in what arguably is an unconstitutional prior restraint on the use of free speech," Lindgren said.

The Vikings are basically (and wisely) doing their best to steer clear of the issue and let he NFL handle any formal declarations.

"We understand the magnitude of this issue, and we respect and are sensitive to the concerns that they have raised," Vikings spokesperson Lester Bagley said.

Native American leaders say they expect "hundreds" of protesters in front of the game when the Redskins and Vikings play.

 
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