The National Football League needs Super Bowl LV to be a success, and in a big way.
The league has been consistently saddled with setbacks in recent months, thanks in no small part to their unwillingness to address the issue of personal political statements and protests by players. The league has taken the “free speech” side of the argument, but those are annoyed by the demonstrations have pointed to other private companies erring against free speech, (Twitter, Facebook, etc), and have wondered why the league refuses to hear these viewers’ complaints.
This week, however, the protest isn’t coming from the sidelines – it’ll be coming from the parking lot.
A local group is planning to hold a protest outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., against the use of the tomahawk chop and other Native American imagery.
The Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality group, which is based in St. Petersburg, will run the protest near the stadium, holding signs and singing. Alicia Norris, the group’s co-founder, told the Associated Press that the chop is “extremely disrespectful” and equates Native Americans to “savages.”
“Now the team wants to backtrack and say we are being culturally appropriate and we are being respectful of indigenous people by saying no headdresses,” Norris said. “And that is a good start, but the fans are still operating as if it is an indigenous-type atmosphere because you are still called the Chiefs. And you can still do this movement that looks like a tomahawk chop, but we are going to call it a drum beat instead. It is kind of silly. Just change it.”
The news comes just months after the Washington Redskins changed their name to “The Washington Football Team”, after decades of sustained pressure from indigenous advocacy groups.
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