The push to ban the Washington Redskins' nickname and logo from being displayed or broadcast inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome will go to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority first thing Friday.
Several representatives of the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement plan to attend the authority’s 9 a.m. meeting at the Dome to ask the board overseeing construction of the new Vikings stadium to refrain from printing or broadcasting the NFL Redskins' nickname or logo when the team visits Minneapolis for a Nov. 7 game with the Vikings.
Activist and child psychologist Alan Yelsey said Thursday that he and several others lobbying for the ban met for about an hour Thursday with authority officials to express their concerns that the nickname is derogatory and destructive and reinforces hurtful stereotypes.
He said speakers Friday plan to cite 14 laws that the authority would be breaking “if they allow the word ‘Redskin’ to be broadcast or presented in that stadium.’’ He also said that the authority’s affirmative action plan prohibits it from creating an environment “that is at all harassing or discriminatory.”
The group, which is pushing the authority to vote on the issue, has said it might file a class-action lawsuit if the board fails to honor their request.
Earlier Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement encouraging the authority, the Vikings and the media “to do the right thing” and not refer to the Washington football team by its "offensive" nickname.
“The name, logo and mascot are racist imagery that does not honor anyone, but instead perpetuate stereotypes that are particularly hurtful and offensive,” said Charles Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU-Minnesota.
Eight financial institutions have been selected to provide underwriting services for the issuance of $498 million in bonds to help cover the taxpayer portion of construction financing for the nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium project.
The Minnesota Department of Management and Budget picked the firms, which will pool services, from a list of 22 applicants.
The state has yet to set a date for issuing the bonds, which will probably be sold over a period of several years. The Vikings are responsible for $477 million of the stadium's $975 million construction cost with the state and city of Minneapolis picking up the rest.
The senior managing underwriter will be RBC Capital Markets. Other firms selected to play a role in the transactions are J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo Securities, Piper Jaffray, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Cronin & Co., Inc, and Loop Capital Markets.
Stadium groundbreaking is tenatively scheduled for mid November, with the building set to open in time for the 2016 NFL season.
The owner of the Downtown East plaza outside the Metrodome, currently embroiled in a lawsuit it filed against the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, says recent court filings in the case have taken on an “Alice in Wonderland” quality.
Minneapolis Venture LLC filed suit two months ago in Hennepin County District Court against the Authority, the public body responsible for overseeing operations at the Dome and construction of the new $975 million Vikings Stadium. The Authority is considering buying the land and underground parking garage at the plaza owned by Minneapolis Venture, but talks between the two have stalled, turned bitter and now, apparently, surreal.
Part of the suit highlights a disagreement over a 10-year-old pact between Minneapolis Venture and the Authority’s precursor organization, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission, which permits the Vikings to use the plaza for pre-game festivities. That contract, Minneapolis Venture says, expires Oct. 31.
However, there are four Vikings home games after Oct. 31, meaning the game-day purple party zone may be in peril.
In court documents, the Authority and the team argue that the game-day celebrations should continue -- as they have for the last decade. Minneapolis Venture is “seeking to inflate the valuation of property in either negotiation or eminent domain proceedings,” documents state.
But in a statement Friday, Minneapolis Venture spokesman Jon Austin quoted a rather lengthy passage from the 1865 Lewis Carroll literary classic to describe the Authority’s stance on the plaza issue (see below).
“In no less than eight affidavits and supporting documents, the Sports Authority claims that plain words such as ‘shall terminate’ and ‘negotiate in good faith’ should be interpreted to mean precisely the opposite of their clear and settled meaning,” Austin wrote. “In other words, the Sports Authority’s position is, ‘It’s not what the words actually mean, it’s what we say they mean that matters.” (That’s Austin’s boldface.)
The Authority has filed for a temporary injunction to preserve the plaza’s status quo while the overall lawsuit winds its way through the courts. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Oct. 24.
“We’re confident that the court will reject their attempt to drag this matter further down a rabbit hole of absurdity and nonsense,” Austin said.
Jennifer Hathaway, spokeswoman for the Authority, declined to comment on the “Alice in Wonderland” claims.
For those football fans interested in the exact text cited from "Alice in Wonderland," here it is:
The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he SAID was, 'Why is a raven like a writing-desk?'
'Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. 'I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.—I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud.
'Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.
'Exactly so,' said Alice.
'Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.
'I do,' Alice hastily replied; 'at least—at least I mean what I say—that's the same thing, you know.'
'Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. 'You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'
'You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, 'that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'
'You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, 'that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'
'It IS the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped.
More than 20 financial institutions are competing for the job of providing underwriting services for the $498 million public share of the new Vikings stadium.
A list of 22 applicants was released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget, which will decide in the next few weeks who will underwrite the project and how many firms might be involved.
The state has said that it hopes to "establish a pool of firms" to serve as senior managing underwriters or co-managing underwriters in connection with the bond issue.
No date has been set for issuing the bonds, which would cover the public portion of the $975 million development. The Vikings are responsible for $477 million of the stadium’s construction cost with the state and the city of Minneapolis covering the rest.
Some of the institutions bidding for the work are Barclays, BMO Capital Markets, Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc., Piper Jaffray & Co., U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo Securities.
Groundbreaking for the stadium, which is expected to open in time for the 2016 NFL season, is tentatively scheduled for mid November.
Attorneys representing the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and the Minnesota Vikings worked into the night Wednesday putting the finishing touches on lease and development agreements for the team's new downtown Minneapolis stadium.
The authority board, which is overseeing construction of the $975 million project, is expected to vote on the agreements at a 5 p.m. meeting Thursday at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
The use agreement, which is expected to bind the team to the new stadium for at least the next 30 years, will detail terms of the team's lease with the authority. The development agreement will spell out the responsibilities of each side during construction, as well as outline the parameters for seat license fees -- a one-time fee charged to season ticketholders for the right to reserve a seat.
Approval of the agreements is necessary before the Vikings can firm up their financing for the project. The team is responsible for $477 million of the $975 million construction cost. The state of Minnesota and city of Minneapolis are picking up the rest.
The Vikings have said that they hope to have their financing in place by early November, in time for a ceremonial groundbreaking east of the Metrodome.
The new stadium, which will replace the Metrodome, is tentatively scheduled to open by the 2016 NFL season.