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Native Americans protest before the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins game. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Minnesota's governor and the mayor of Minneapolis both say the Washington Redskins should change the team's name -- and a crowd that gathered outside the Metrodome before Thursday's game offered their loud agreement.
At a Thursday morning news conference, Gov. Mark Dayton called the name “racist” and suggested every member of Congress should boycott the team to put pressure on its owners.
Also Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak released a statement saying the name disrespects indigenous people. Six members of the Minneapolis City Council recently sent a letter to the team's owner and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling the name and team mascot racist.
Former Minnesota Vikings safety Joey Browner also spoke out against the name.
“I want to show that I’m indigenous and I want to show a conscious awareness to the world,” he said. “We need to change the imagery presented to our children.”
This week the D.C. Council also called on the team to change its name in a resolution approved 10-0.
“We look forward to other NFL players, mayors, city council members and elected officials at the local, regional, state and federal levels stepping forward and following their example,” Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter said.
American Indian activists and others demonstrated against the name ahead of the team's game against the Minnesota Vikings Thursday night. The groups marched to the Metrodome for a rally.
An Oneida Indian Nation radio ad calling for the team to change its name aired in Minneapolis in the run-up to the game.
“The question now facing the NFL and team owner Dan Snyder is which side of history they want to be on.” Halbritter said. “It’s a question many Americans are asking themselves, as evidenced by the surge in support for ending use of this harmful racial epithet.”
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