Protesters running ads to raise awareness

Protesters against the Redskins name are bringing their efforts to the airwaves surrounding the Vikings game Sunday.

Immediately prior to the noon CST kickoff Sunday of the Minnesota-Washington game, the Twin Cities FOX affiliate carrying the game (KMSP FOX 9) will air a 30-second commercial entitled “Proud to Be” that will protest to use of the Native American mascot nickname Redskins.

The ad was paid for by the Mdewatanton Sioux Community and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe with the intention of having it air in a game in which the Redskins will play.

The original ad was created in January and a two-minute version of the video was released on YouTube. That video can be seen by clicking here:

The “Proud To Be” video shows vividly the different tribes of Native Americans in the United States and the tone is that if you are an American Indian you go by several different names, but the commercial ends ominously saying that, of all the names Indians are referred by, one that none of them use is Redskins.

There have been differing reports as to how many protesters will be outside TCF Bank Stadium Sunday, but events have been happening throughout the week. Former Viking Joey Browner, who is of Cherokee and Seminole heritage, has become a faceplate for the rally and is asking as many people as possible to attend to show the NFL that there is strong support for eliminating the Redskins nickname.

A different TV ad that calls into play other racial slurs, which are bleeped out, is also expected to be airing. That ad can be seen by clicking here:

The ad puts the nature of the term Redskin in context by having people of other ethnicities saying the slurs that have been associated with them. All of them have been bleeped out (pretty much), but demonstrates the stark contrast between the name Redskin and other derogatory names other races are referred to. The #ChangeTheMascot commercial was created by Red Circle, a Minneapolis-based advertising agency and is co-sponsored by the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media.

It’s unclear whether the protest will reach the projections that have been made – ranging from 4,000 to 10,000 – but one thing seems certain. The NFL is going to notice. For those seeking change, getting noticed in large numbers is a critical component of forcing change to take place.


  • Approximately 40 former Vikings are schedule to attend Sunday’s game as part of Alumni Weekend. The will be an autograph session Saturday at the Sears Court area of Mall of America. Among those expected to be on hand for the session that runs from 1 to 2 p.m. include Walker Lee Ashley, Matthew Hatchett, Brent McClanahan, Oscar Reed, Jesse Solomon and Doug Martin.

    A youth football clinic will be held simultaneously at Fairview Park (621 29th Ave. North) in Minneapolis. Among those schedule to attend the clinic are Tyrone Carter, Greg Coleman, Carl Eller, Carl Hilton, Tom Tunsey, Frank Ori, John Swain, Stu Voigt and Rickey Young.

    On Sunday, there will be two autograph sessions from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Turner and Young will be signing in the Fan Zone in front of Mariucci Arena and Eller and Lee will be signing at the McNamara Alumi Center. All of the events are free and open to the public.

  • For those planning to participate in the rally prior to the game, protesters are asked to gather at Northrup Plaza on the University of Minnesota campus before marching to TCF Bank Stadium. Activist Dick Gregory, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Browner are expected to speak along with several Indian reservation leaders from throughout the country.

  • Robert Griffin III is listed as probable for Sunday’s game, which, by the language of the weekly injury report means that he is a “virtual certainty” to be available to play.

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