Ex-Vikings safety Joey Browner enters the Redskins debate
Coming Thursday he will be at the game against Washington Redskins as part of a conscience walk being held by the American Indian Movement as he believes that the Washington Redskins franchise name is derogatory and a racial slur.
"It should be changed. "It should have been changed a long time ago,” he said. “(The Redskins are) making multi billions over a word that was something they put a bounty up (historically) for hunting season for (indigenous) scalps. ... Other organizations have changed their names and come back thriving.''
Browner has been a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) for the past three years. He said that his American Indian heritage was the reason he stood up for the cause.
"I want to show that I'm indigenous and I want to show a conscious awareness to the world, Browner said. “We need to change the imagery presented to our children.''
On Thursday the AIM will conduct a one mile walk from their HQ to the Metrodome. Although he is expected to say a few words, he will not be the main speaker. That will be the job of AIM director Clyde Bellecourt and 1964 Olympic gold medalist in 10,000-meter run Billy Mills, who also happens to have a American Indian heritage. Both being professional level athletes, Browner and Bellecourt have developed a good understanding and Browner invited Bellecourt to the ceremony when he was inaugurated in Ring of Honour.
Bellecourt explained why Browner was coming out to express his opinions this now rather when he was in the NFL to avoid controversy on his behalf.
"When he was a player, he couldn't speak about it,” he said. “He could have lost his job (in the NFL). Now, he can speak about it.''
Browner himself explained that standing up for one’s culture and race wasn’t the right move to do in his time due to backlashes and racist groups, some of which are still active today. He said that now was the right time to stand up and express his feelings.
"This is the right situation and the right platform. Even the president of the United States is talking about it,” Browner said. "So if it's not the right time now, when is the right time?''