Opponents of the Washington Redskins’ name in Minneapolis are pulling out all the stops to bar the team from using its controversial name during its November game against the Minnesota Vikings. Now, a city attorney will explore whether the Mill City has the legal authority to ban the name entirely.
The decision to look into taking legal action was part of two resolutions recently passed by the Minneapolis city council. The first resolution, which passed unanimously last week, officially condemned “the racist, offensive name of the Washington, D.C. football franchise.” One councilmember said the name is an affront to “a sensitive city.”
At the encouragement of the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, the city will seek to find out if it can issue restraining orders against offensive mascots or nicknames, as well as bar products or companies that use similar names from doing business in the city.
City attorneys and council members expressed concern that the First Amendment might prove difficult to work around.
With just a few weeks to go before the November 2 game, Minneapolis’s attempt is the latest in a citywide effort to prohibit the name. Over the past two months, the University of Minnesota, whose stadium the Vikings will be using over the next two seasons, has tried to “make every effort to eliminate” the name from being on campus, including by asking the team not to use its jerseys featuring the name, arguing that displaying the name Redskins violates the campus anti-discrimination policy.
Protests are expected to take place outside the stadium on game day.