The San Francisco Giants are considering taking a stand against culturally insensitive attire and use of culturally insensitive language by instituting a ban against both at AT&T Park.
According to USA TODAY, the Giants were motivated to consider a change following an alleged incident at Native American Heritage Night on June 23. Two Native Americans who were attending the event, April Negrette and Kimball Bighorse, reportedly approached a group of men who were wearing and passing around fake headdresses to tell them it was disrespectful to their culture, which the Giants intended to honor that evening. One of the Native Americans asked for a headdress and then declined to return it, which led to security and police being called and both being forcefully detained.
Here's video of the incident, which was taken by Bighorse:
Naturally, the video led to outrage within the local Native American community, and on July 1, they came together to stage a protest outside AT&T Park.
The Giants, in response to the offensive behavior by the headress wearing fans and the unfortunate altercation that ensued, are looking into a policy that would call for fans wearing culturally insensitive attire or using insensitive language to first be warned to stop by Giants security, and potentially asked to leave should their behavior continue.
According to Giants senior vice president Staci Slaughter, the proposed policy is in the working stages, and would be an extension of existing policies about obscene language and offensive signs.
“We want to make sure that our fans are respectful of each other and the different backgrounds that everyone comes from.”
“We are considering expanding the policy to be more explicit about culturally insensitive signs and articles of clothing.” she told USA TODAY Sports
“I don’t want to overstate where we are,” she added. “We haven’t finalized the language. We are still in the process of revising it.”
If and when the policy comes to fruition, the Giants would be the first major sports franchise to prohibit fans from wearing fake headdresses into a stadium, according to American Indian activist Suzan Shown Harjo. It would also be a big statement and perhaps even a first step toward limiting or removing racially and culturally insensitive behavior from all ballparks. That may seem a bit ambitious, but it has to start somewhere.
With that in mind, Negrette recently told the San Francisco Examiner that she's not buying into the Giants effort just yet.
“A lot of fluff in my opinion, until I see an action.”
The doubt is understandable given how long the issue has been brushed aside, but it's a hot topic now with more people than ever pressuring the NFL's Washington Redskins to change their name. Also, two weeks ago, a Cleveland-based Native American activist group announced plans to sue the Cleveland Indians in federal court for $9 billion citing 100 years of racism connected to the team's name and its Chief Wahoo logo.
It's unknown what the timeline will be for the Giants to put their policy in place, but they suggest it will take time to educate fans and event staff about the policy to ensure everyone is on the same page. Once that happens, though, it sounds like a go, and that will be a big breakthrough for professional sports.
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