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Updated: November 7th, 2013 5:41am
P.J.R.: Bellecourt won't stop with winning Redskins' dispute

P.J.R.: Bellecourt won't stop with winning Redskins' dispute

by Patrick Reusse
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Joe Soucheray and I have been radio partners in some form and without interruption for three decades. This dates to our glorious comeback in September 1983, after having been fired 18 months earlier.

These efforts in behalf of Hubbard Broadcasting have not been tightly planned, whether on Monday nights, or Saturday mornings, and now from 3-4 p.m. weekdays on "Sports Talk.''

These days, if someone gets in touch with our legendary producer, The Rookie, or his right-hand man, Reuvers, with a potential guest, there's a dang good chance said guest will get booked and Sooch and I will not have received a hint about it.

That was the case on Wednesday, when I was involved in a remote broadcast from the Jackson's Hole saloon on First Avenue, and Sooch was back in the studio.

"We have a guest,'' Sooch said near the top of "Sports Talk.''

"We do?'' I responded. "Who might that be?''

"Joey Browner,'' Sooch said.

"He's connected to Light Rail,'' the Rookie said. "He was involved in promoting Light Rail in St. Paul.''

I offered a "hmmm'' to this and said, "I'm guessing this might have more to do with the protest of the Redskins' nickname planned for their visit to the Metrodome on Thursday. Joey has been visible in supporting Clyde Bellecourt on this.''

Clyde is our most-prominent protestor, of course, when it comes to raising a ruckus over slights he perceives toward American Indians. He's an Ojibwe from the White Earth Reservation and helped form the American Indian Movement in 1968.

Browner called in as the Rookie and Reuvers had planned, and we congratulated him on his recent induction into the Vikings Ring of Honor, and then I asked about his involvement in the campaign to get rid of the Redskins nickname, and, presto, Joey handed off the phone to Bellecourt.

As this campaign was heating up late in the summer, I made some comments on Twitter about the inherent racism in "Redskins'' and that it was inevitable the NFL would have to capitulate on the nickname.

One reasoned response offered in my Twitter feed was that I should understand this: Once "Redskins'' was done away with, Bellecourt and others would simply take their protest to the next professional team name - to Chiefs, then Braves, and on and on.

Anyway, Clyde on Wednesday started giving us his familiar spiel about the damage these nicknames do the generations of Indian people, and I thought that made for very boring radio and kept saying loudly over him:

"Clyde, Clyde ... we've heard this from you forever. I think most of us agree that 'Redskins' is a racist nickname. My question is, 'If you are successful in getting rid of that name, what's next? Will you be going after Chiefs, Braves, et cetera?''

The short answer (which Clyde never gives) was, "Yes.''

"How about Blackhawks?'' said Sooch, an admirer of all things "Original Six'' in the NHL.

Yup. Clyde will be going after Blackhawks, too.

As I've always said, "You can't be an activist without constantly finding something to be active about.''

Clyde's 77 and he's clearly enjoying the renewal of attention he's receiving with the Redskins' protest ... enjoying it so much that if and when he wins this one, he's not going away.

Instead, he'll be going after the nicknames that aren't in the same solar system as Redskins when it comes to carrying a bad message toward American Indians.

So it goes.


Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He co-hosts SportsTalk from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and hosts The Ride with Reusse from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. He also co-hosts "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Patrick | @1500ESPN_reusse | The Ride with Reusse