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During a panel discussion they hosted last month in D.C., McCollum accused Snyder and the NFL of looking to “exploit and profit from the racial slur ‘Redskins.’ ”
Snyder has pointed to polls that show two-thirds of people who live in the D.C. metropolitan area don’t want the Redskins to change their name.
Outside the Beltway, the campaign has organized protest rallies at Redskins games in Green Bay, Dallas and Denver. A protest rally is planned for Minneapolis on Thursday, where McCollum is expected to be the first member of Congress to headline one of the demonstrations, according to aides.
Larry Leventhal, an attorney for the American Indian Movement (AIM), said Wednesday that the group has filed a petition with state officials seeking to block the use of the Redskins name and logo in the new Vikings stadium when its built. AIM also wants the state to hold a hearing on the group’s claim that the Redskins name violates civil rights law. State officials have said they are reviewing the petition.
What’s in a name?
The lawmakers and many in Indian Country say the issue has broader implications.
“When you trivialize people, their issues become less important,” said Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation. To drive their point home, the Oneidas sponsor “Change the Mascot” radio ads in every city the team plays.
In the Twin Cities market, KFAN-FM will air a “Change the Mascot” spot before its broadcast of the Vikings-Washington game.
McCollum said the fight is worth the time.
“This is an opportunity to enlighten people, to give folks an opportunity to understand what the word means,” she said. “Every American should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Staff writers Randy Furst and Kevin Duchschere contributed to this report.
Corey Mitchell is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau. Twitter: @C_C_Mitchell