You can be sure there will be lots of talk about and condemnation of the Washington Redskins' nickname in the Twin Cities this week, as the team prepares to square off against the Vikings on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.
But at least one group is using local media to present a counterargument to the anti-Redskins ones put forth by people like Clyde Bellecourt.
This morning, we noticed ads from a group called "Redskins Facts" on the Pioneer Press's website:
The ads also appear prominently on the side of the PiPress's website. We didn't immediately see them on the website of any other media outlet.
"RedskinsFacts.com is a growing online community of passionate Washington Redskins fans and others who support the team's use of its name and logo," the group's website says. "We know the debate over the name 'Redskins' has been contentious for years, and we don't seek to inflame or antagonize anyone. We're simply interested in presenting historical evidence to fair-minded opinion leaders on both sides of the issue so ongoing discussions can be constructive."
"We believe that the team's name and logo represent the very best of the noble qualities exemplified by Native Americans, and we hope this website will continue to be a reference point for everyone with a vested interest in the future of the Washington Redskins' identity," it continues.
"Alumni Captains" who support the group include former Redskins Sonny Jurgensen, Clinton Portis, and Joe Theismann, among others.
To justify the "Redskins" name, Redskins Facts cites a study that concluded the word was first used "as an inclusive expression of solidarity by multi-tribal delegations who traveled to Washington, D.C. to negotiate national policy towards Native Americans." Similarly, the team's controversial logo "was first designed in 1971 in close consultation with Native American leaders," the organization's website says.
We doubt the website and local advertising will do much to quell the anti-"Redskins" protest that's sure to take place outside TCF Bank Stadium this coming Sunday, but it's interesting to note that Redskins Facts believe they can still win the argument over the much-decried nickname and logo in the sphere of public opinion.
A few months ago, Think Progress put together a piece entitled, "Six Very Misleading Facts on RedskinsFacts.com." The piece, citing Slate's reporting, notes that the site "appears not to be an organic, grassroots project but an astroturfed public relations campaign backed by D.C. crisis communications firm Burson-Marsteller."