The San Francisco Giants are considering a ban on fans wearing certain types of clothing because some fans passed around a Native American headdress at a game, USA Today reports. The Giants are responding to an incident at AT&T Park in which a Caucasian fan wore the headdress at Native American Heritage Night. After it was passed around by fans, two Native Americans told the group that it was disrespectful, then asked to hold it and would not return it.
The Giants proposal includes banning fans from wearing culturally insensitive attire to games and threatening fans using culturally insensitive language with exile from the stadium. Staci Slaughter, Giants senior vice president, communications, and senior advisor to the CEO, said to USA Today after the incident:
We met with some folks as a result of the incident. What we’re looking at is not just specific to Native Americans. We have a desire to educate folks. The reason we do these heritage nights is to raise the awareness of the diversity of our region.
Commenting on the new proposal, Slaughter stated;
We are considering expanding the policy to be more explicit about culturally insensitive signs and articles of clothing. I don’t want to overstate where we are. We haven’t finalized the language. We are still in the process of revising it.
Jacqueline Keeler, a founder of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, said to USA Today, “It is not acceptable for anyone to wear blackface anymore. So why is it acceptable for fans to come to stadiums dressed in redface? The clowning of our culture must stop.”
Keeler’s cousin, Kimball Bighorse, was one of the Native Americans detained in the incident at the game.
American Indian activist Suzan Shown Harjo said, “The teams with so-called Indian identities should take note and follow suit. But owners who are in the business of the commoditization of Indians are not really in a position to ask anyone else to tone it down.”
The National Congress of American Indians and Oneida Indian Nation stated, “It is encouraging to know that this highly successful sports franchise is willing to address the cultural insensitivity that occurred within their ballpark, he continued. “…Instead of ignoring these issues, the San Francisco Giants are exploring a method to create a respectful and welcoming environment.”