Politics & Policy

S.F. Giants May Force Fans to Leave Their Indian Headdresses at Home

Giants fans celebrate after the World Series, November 2010 (Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
The San Francisco team considers banning politically incorrect clothing from its stadium.

The San Francisco Giants might ban fans from wearing politically incorrect clothing or using culturally insensitive language at baseball games. Fans of teams with Indian names have worn feathers and war paint to baseball games for a long time, but it could be coming to an end in the Bay Area.

Fans who sport the forbidden attire, such as fake Native American headdresses, “redface,” feathers, or war paint, or those who say something deemed offensive, could be questioned by Giants security or potentially told to leave the stadium, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

The proposed policy developed after an incident at a Giants game in June when two Native Americans, April Negrette and Kimball Bighorse, asked a man to remove his headdress. One of the Native Americans took the headdress and refused to return it, so security detained Negrette and Bighorse but did not arrest them. The kerfuffle happened on Native American Heritage Night.

Bighorse was among the Native American activists who met with Giants officials to discuss how to prevent more such incidents.

American Indian activist Suzan Shown Harjo told USA Today that this ban would be a first for a major-league sports franchise. Staci Slaughter, a Giants senior vice president, said the team already has policies pertaining to obscene language and offensive signs.

“We met with some folks as a result of the incident,” Slaughter told USA Today. “What we’re looking at is not just specific to Native Americans. We have a desire to educate folks. The reason we do these heritage nights is to raise the awareness of the diversity of our region.”

The sports world got a little more politically correct recently when a panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled in favor of plaintiffs claiming that the Washington Redskins name “may disparage persons or bring them into contempt, or disrepute,” divesting the team of six trademarks.

The first step toward implementing the Giants ban would be informing fans and staff of new rules to ensure they understand them, Slaughter said.

— Celina Durgin is a Franklin Center intern at National Review Online.

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