If Minneapolis mayor R.T. Ryback had his way, the team visiting the Vikings at the Metrodome tonight would be named something other than the Redskins. Ryback has joined an increasing multitude of civic leaders and other people of influence who are calling for the Washington football team to change their nickname on the grounds that it is racially insensitive.
“It has never been right to disrespect the indigenous people of our country, and it is especially wrong to do it in 2013 with the name of a team that represents our nation’s capital,” Ryback posted on Tumblr.
Ryback went further than just standing against the nickname, he called for people to put pressure on the Redskins and owner Dan Snyder by refusing to spend money on gear emblazoned with the team’s name and logo.
“I stand with elected officials across the country, including members of the Minneapolis City Council, and many, many others who believe it is long past time to change the name of Washington’s NFL team. It is deeply disappointing that calls for respect have not been heard, and I will join others in looking for ways to bring change, including urging those who agree to boycott merchandise of the Washington Football Franchise.
Ryback added, “I have a son who lives in Washington who, thankfully, remains a Viking fan, but if he ever changes allegiance, he should not count on his dad buying him anything that uses their derogatory name and logo.”
Dan Snyder has already made it clear that he has no intention of ever changing the team’s name. When dragged into the middle of the controversy, Roger Goodell deferred back to Snyder, saying it was up to the Redskins to decide for themselves whether to make a switch.
Eventually the Redskins name will be changed, but probably not until Dan Snyder has had some kind of profound come-to-Jesus moment. I seriously doubt mayor Ryback’s objections will do anything to speed Snyder toward this moment of realization but then again you never know.