Updated: 10/25/2013 7:13 PM KSTP.com By: Kate Renner
The American Indian Movement took front-and-center stage today, asking the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to ban the use of the Washington Redskins name on Nov. 7, when the Vikings host Washington at the Metrodome. The group wants all references to the team to be the "Washington football team," in large part because of how offensive it is for their children to hear.
"When they start hearing the chants, and see the rubber tomahawks and painted faces, and chicken feathers, and they start screaming scalp them F-ing Vikings, massacre those Twins, those children get scared, it has a tremendous psychological affect on them. 'Grandpa, Grandpa, lets go home, lets go home," said Clyde Bellecourt of the American Indian Movement.
But the attorney for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says they cannot put legal parameters around what can and cannot be said inside the Metrodome.
He said the role of the Authority is to provide public accommodations, not put prior restraints on free speech.
The Authority, though, will set-up a Public Announcement system for the American Indian Movement to hold a protest outside of the Metrodome on game day.
The Vikings also said they won't prevent the use of the team name on the scoreboards or in announcements.
"We're one of 32 teams and we have an obligation to carry on the marketing of the game regardless of the team and ... again, deferring to the NFL for direction on this, but until they tell us that something has changed, we'll proceed as usual," said Lester Bagley, Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development.
Also at today's meeting, KSTP learned Mortenson Construction will have to come out with a guaranteed maximum price by next week. That will be the final cost for the new stadium if it's approved by the Sports Facilities Authority.
The preliminary total construction costs is estimated to be $737 million.