Today, Arizona legislators announced the introduction of a bill that would disallow publicly funded stadiums from displaying “offensive” professional team names. HB 2499, introduced by Arizona State Rep. Eric Descheenie, would not allow “disparaging terms and logos” to be featured in stadiums built with public funds.
According to Descheenie, publicly funded sports facilities in Arizona will no longer broadcast the Washington Redskins professional football team’s name under legislation announced today.
“This is about government speech…We are better than this.” Rep. @ericdescheenie & Native American leaders unveil #HB2499 to disallow publicly funded stadiums from displaying the offensive Washington NFL team name. pic.twitter.com/fd3ueTRZIf
— Arizona House Democrats (@AZHouseDems) January 31, 2018
— Eric Descheenie (@ericdescheenie) January 30, 2018
Representatives Alston, Andrade, Benally, Blanc, Butler, Cardenas, Chávez, Clark, Engel, Epstein, Espinoza, Fernandez, Friese, Gabaldón, Gonzales, Hernandez, Martinez, Navarrete, Peten, Powers Hannley, Rios, Saldate, and Salman co-sponsored the bill.
“We still have this racial slur as a mascot, nearly a hundred years later. The NFL profits from it. They market it. They brand it,” said Descheenie. “If we are choosing to spend money on these publicly funded stadiums, I do not think that we should make offending our Indigenous brothers and sisters the official policy of the State of Arizona.”Descheenie claims the bill will not infringe on 1st amendment rights according to the 2015 Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans supreme court ruling. This bill still allows the team and fans to wear Washington team gear. And does not stop any Arizona high school from using the term in its sports facilities.