Wednesday, August 17, 2005

COLLEGE TEAM MASCOTS -by Russ

Not to distract everyone from the Sheehan circus, but did you see what the NCAA has done now? They’ve decided that teams with "Native American" mascots cannot host NCAA-sanctioned tournaments, and also will not be allowed to display their mascots & team names at tournament games away from their campuses after a certain date. I remember a few years ago when this issue was really flaring up and I still subscribed to Sports Illustrated, before that mag turned into the athletic version of "US" magazine. The magazine ran a poll asking "Native Americans" if they were personally offended by these mascots. Somewhere around 80% of them had no problem with the college mascots, and only between 65-70% of them had a problem with the more offensive (IMHO) name "Washington Redskins". The NCAA apparently didn’t consult any of these "Native Americans" before making this decision, and tribes in Michigan & Florida are now concerned that their "moi-chendising" deals with the schools in their areas will stop producing revenue.

I think this decision smacks of the worst sort of paternalistic racism. "Oh, those Indians don’t really know when they’re being offended; I guess we’ll have to do this for their own good." Great. The organization that can’t allow college students to have a Fish & More platter at Long John Silver’s paid for by an assistant coach, because THEY MIGHT BE CORRUPTED BY THOSE TWO EXTRA HUSH PUPPIES AND THE LARGE FOUNTAIN DRINK – is now going to take on racism in America? Forgive me if I think this will do about as much good as Robert Downey Jr. filming JUST SAY NO commercials or Shawn Kemp doing radio PSA’s for abstinence programs.

I don’t have a problem with "Native American" activists protesting obvious slurs like "Redskins" or "Chief Wahoo", the mascot of the Cleveland Indians. Even though the majority of Indians don’t have a problem with these symbols (per the SI poll referenced earlier), the numbers are closer to a toss-up than the other college mascots. I just hope some University out there has a President with some testicular material and a bevy of alumni lawyers willing to file a pro bono suit against the NCAA asking them to, in the words of THE ROCK……SHUT YOUR MOUTH(S) AND KNOW YOUR ROLE!

-by: Russ from Winterset, House of Sage Contributor

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