June 20, 2002
PC in the Sports World

Since my previous post has put me into an ornery mood, I am going to take a whack at another subject which annoys me: sports teams and their mascots. (This article in today's Seattle Times started the gears in my mind on this subject). And I know it's not terribly original, as several bloggers have pontificated on the subject. However, I've not yet contributed to the discussion.

A number of Aboriginal Americans activists have been pressing to force sports teams (and by extension, college and high school mascots) to change their names because of a perceived bias towards the aforementioned groups. They have received support from many of the talking heads, and two of the more "progressive" daily newspapers, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Oregonian, refuse to identify teams such as the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, except as "the team from Washington" or "the team from Cleveland".

While I can see that the term "Redskins" might be considered insensitive, and some might find the image of Cleveland's mascot irritating, I find the wholesale press to change team names to be wrong-headed, especially since those who presume to speak for their "people" do not enjoy universal support. The Times article cited above features one; another is the leader of the Seminole nation, who has given his blessing to Florida State University to use the image of a Seminole warrior as their mascot. The self-appointed spokespersons dismiss dissent as irrelevant; one must stay focused on the message.

The overarching theme for name changes (and perhaps one of the reasons I am so opposed to it) is Political Correctness. The appearance of sensitivity to Aboriginal Americans is one aspect; another is an attempt to soften the aggreesive tone of some of the teams' names. Ever wonder why the Washington Bullets became the Washington Wizards? The new owner felt that the old name glorified gun ownership.

I wonder what will be next on the chopping block. The Vikings, Fighting Irish, Orangemen, Spartans, Celtics, Cowboys, and Canucks are all caricatures of various ethnicities. The Saints and the Padres unfairly promote Christianity over other religions. The Titans trivialize the beliefs of the ancient Greeks. The Kings are oppressive towards womyn. The Hurricanes and the Cyclones might offend those who have suffered from weather phenomena. The Jets might offend Muslims who feel that the team recalls September 11. And of course, all teams named after animals—Blackhawks, Dolphins, Tigers, and even the Banana Slugs—are insulting to Mother Nature and all of her children.

Of course, I have employed some particularly tortured logic to make my point, but I still think that it is a valid point.

posted on June 20, 2002 08:26 PM


I'll think about that the next time the Midwest City Bombers (nearest high school to me) put together a road schedule.

What if the Cleveland baseball club were to spend even-numbered years as the Indians and odd-numbered years as the Pakistanis....no, that wouldn't work either.

posted by CGHill on June 21, 2002 06:46 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?

Back to Horologium