Mark Dayton, R.T. Rybak call on Washington Redskins to change "racist" nickname [UPDATE]

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-- Update at bottom --

The Washington Redskins are in town tonight to play a nationally televised game against the soap opera that is the Minnesota Vikings.

One subplot is the ongoing controversy over the Redskins' offensive nickname, which has prompted the American Indian Movement to plan a protest outside tonight's game.

RELATED: ACLU calls on Vikings to boycott "Redskins" when Washington comes to Metrodome

During a news conference today, Gov. Mark Dayton was asked for his opinion on the nickname. Here's what he said:

Dayton isn't the first Minnesota politician to get involved in the Redskins controversy.

In June, a group of Congress members led by Rep. Betty McCollum (she's co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus) wrote a letter to Redskins owner Daniel Synder urging him to reconsider his stance that the nickname won't be changed.

"Native Americans throughout the country consider the term 'redskin' a racial, derogatory slur akin to the 'N-word' among African Americans or the 'W-word' among Latinos," McCollum and her colleagues wrote. "Such offensive epithets would no doubt draw wide-spread disapproval among the NFL's fan base. Yet the national coverage of Washington's NFL team profits from a term that is equally disparaging to Native Americans."

:::: UPDATE ::::

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak also weighed in on the nickname controversy on his Facebook page today. In a somewhat humorous twist, he said his son Charlie lives in D.C. and is a Vikings fan, but if he ever switched allegiances, dear old dad could be counted upon to never buy him any merch adorned with the "derogatory" Redskins name and logo.

Here's R.T.'s entire statement:
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.

I stand with elected officials across the country, including members of the Minneapolis City Council, and many, many others who believe it is long past time to change the name of Washington's NFL team. It is deeply disappointing that calls for respect have not been heard, and I will join others in looking for ways to bring change, including urging those who agree to boycott merchandise of the Washington Football Franchise.

I have a son who lives in Washington who, thankfully, remains a Viking fan, but if he ever changes allegiance, he should not count on his dad buying him anything that uses their derogatory name and logo.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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