State House Bill Would Prevent Display of Team Names Disparaging Native Americans

Jan 31, 2018

A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would prevent publicly funded stadiums from displaying team names offensive to many Native Americans. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Democratic State Rep. Eric Descheenie spoke Wednesday at the State Capitol about his bill HB 2499. It would bar team names and logos that Native Americans find offensive from being displayed at publicly funded stadiums and facilities.
Credit Arizona House Democrats

The legislation would allow any federally recognized tribe to bar facilities in Arizona from displaying terms, team names and logos they find disparaging. It’s primarily aimed at stopping the Washington Redskins’ logo and name from appearing at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

The bill’s sponsor, Chinle Democrat Eric Descheenie, spoke Wednesday at a press conference.

"We still have this racial slur as a mascot. Why is the Arizona state government implicitly or explicitly condoning that?" he asked.

Descheenie acknowledged he doesn’t expect fellow lawmakers to pass the bill, but he still plans to press Republican Speaker JD Mesnard for its consideration.

The National Congress of American Indians calls team names like the Redskins racist and derogatory, and studies have shown they can have detrimental psychological effects on Native youth.

Neither the team nor the NFL have commented on the proposed bill.