Metrodome operators won't block use of Redskins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota stadium operators won't create a new policy barring the use of the Washington Redskins name and logo during a game in the Metrodome next month.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority on Friday denied a request from the American Indian Movement, American Civil Liberties Union and others to block the team's name from being used on materials and the public address system. The groups have argued the logo is offensive and racist.
Larry Leventhal, an attorney for AIM, told the authority that it has a duty to stand up against what he described as a derogatory, degrading name.
"It has no place in a public building," he said. The groups haven't ruled out legal action.
But Jay Lindgren, the authority's lawyer, said the board operates within a limited scope and this issue falls outside of it.
"You would be engaging, I think, in an unconstitutional prior restraint in the use of free speech," Lindgren said of a name ban.
Lester Bagley, a Minnesota Vikings vice president, said the team remains in conversation with tribal representatives and the NFL.
"Bottom line, we're looking to the NFL for guidance on this," Bagley said. "Until they tell us that something has changed, we will proceed as usual."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is listening to concerns. Brian McCarthy, NFL vice president for corporate communications, issued a statement only referring to the use of the name by broadcasters, saying it's up to them how often a team nickname is used.
The NFL has largely deferred to the Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who has called the name "a badge of honor" to Native Americans.
AIM founder Clyde Bellecourt said there will be hundreds of people protesting Nov. 7 outside the Metrodome at the Redskins-Vikings game, which will be televised nationally on cable's NFL Network. The authority plans to make accommodations for protesters, including giving them access to a sound system.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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