Protesters gathered in Minneapolis Sunday for a massive rally against the use of the name “Redskins,” and they took a personal shot at Daniel Snyder, owner of the NFL’s Washington franchise who has been adamant about not changing the team’s name.
Thousands of people from several states chanted and carried banners near the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium prior to the Minnesota Vikings’ kickoff against Washington.
Twin Cities activist Clyde Bellecourt told the crowd that the name “Redskins” represents the scalping of Indians, and their scalps were sold for money.
“We are standing up against this monster team that is here today and to this Jewish person who should know a little bit about genocide,” Bellecourt said in a reference to the Holocaust during WWII that left six million Jews dead under Nazi rule.
“He should know a little bit about genocide,” Bellecourt repeated, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “and the fact that Jewish people are still here today. There have been millions of people erased from the face of the Earth, scalped. Scalped! Their scalps taken to be sold for bounty. The blood running down the children’s faces. There were whole tribes that were totally decimated.”
“Change the name!” the crowd chanted at the urging of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. “I have a message to the Washington team: The clock is ticking on your name … it is more than an insult. It’s hate.”
Despite repeated criticism, Snyder has refused to change the team’s name, which he contends honors American Indians. That’s in the face of a letter signed by half the U.S. Senate and criticism by President Barack Obama, along with opposition from several civil rights organizations.
But polls show many Americans, including Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, are against changing the team’s name. “It’s not going to hurt me. It’s just … I love the emblem,” McConaughey said in a recent interview. “I dig it. It gives me a little fire and some oomph. But now that it’s in the court of public opinion, it’s going to change. I wish it wouldn’t, but it will,” the actor added.
Below is a video from Sunday’s protest.