As Washington’s football team prepares to play Thursday night against the Minnesota Vikings, the home team’s governor is speaking out against their visitors’ controversial name.
“I believe the name should be changed,” Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (D) told reporters at a pre-game news conference. The name ‘Redskins,’ he said, is “racist.”
He also suggested that members of Congress should boycott Washington’s games until the team drops the epithet. Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), President Obama, and several other members of Congress, including the two leading members of the House Native Affairs Committee, have spoken out against the name.
Dayton isn’t alone in speaking out against Washington’s team name ahead of Thursday’s game. Minneapolis’s mayor, R. T. Ryback, also put out a statement saying, “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.”
Leading up to the game, the Minnesota American Indian movement planned a march to the stadium, and announced they would hold a protest outside as the players faced off.
Though there’s a growing drumbeat demanding Washington change its name, there’s little hope that a change is actually forthcoming. The Skins’ owner, Dan Snyder, has been adamant against changing the name. “We’ll never change the name,” he told USA Today in May. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”