Hundreds of protesters chanting: “We are not your mascot,” rallied in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Thursday, saying that the visiting Washington Redskins’ nickname was racist and degrading to American Indians, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The demonstrators, carrying banners and signs, gathered in a park near the US Bank Stadium before the Minnesota Vikings took on Washington on Thursday.
Representatives of the National Coalition Against Racism carried a large banner that read: “The ‘R’ word is no different than the ‘N’ word. Little Red Sambo has got to go!”
US Representative Betty McCollum and Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, who is a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, were among the speakers at the event, which was hosted by a coalition of tribal governments, the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, and other Native American organizations.
Flanagan said that the Washington team’s mascot “dehumanizes our people.”
The Washington club have faced calls for years to change their name, although owner Daniel Snyder has resisted pressure and even said that the moniker honors Native Americans.
Snyder has maintained that stance even as some US sports teams have tried to step back from offensive images.
Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, for instance, have kept their name, but dropped their cartoonish “Chief Wahoo” mascot from their uniforms and almost all of their merchandise.
At Thursday’s game, Dalvin Cook rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown to help Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins emerge a winner against his former NFL team with a 19-9 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Cook, who leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage, also caught five passes for 73 yards, while Dan Bailey converted four field goals in the Vikings’ fourth straight victory, which saw them improve to 6-2.
“Pleased with where we’re at,” Cousins said. “We’ve got to go out and prove it the second half of the season.”
Cousins connected on 23 of 26 passes for 285 yards without a turnover against the Redskins, who drafted him in 2012 and made him their full-time starter in 2015.
It was a disappointing return to Minnesota for Redskins quarterback Case Keenum — once the starting signal-caller for the Vikings.
He surrendered a fumble on a first-quarter sack and missed the second half after suffering a concussion.
Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the 15th overall selection in this year’s draft, took over and made three of five passes for 33 yards and an interception.
Haskins, who also replaced Keenum in a Week 4 defeat at the New York Giants, was sacked twice.
Another former Vikings star, running back Adrian Peterson, enjoyed a milestone night with 14 carries for 76 yards that moved him into sixth place on the NFL’s career rushing list.
Peterson got loose for a 29-yard run that carried him past LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684 yards) into sixth place on the list.
Peterson passed Jerome Bettis (13,662 yards) earlier in the game.
Peterson, who received a standing ovation from Vikings fans who watched him star for 10 seasons in Minnesota, finished the game with 13,701 career rushing yards.
His next target is Curtis Martin, who’s fifth on the list with 14,101.