Saturday, August 06, 2005

College Sports Mascots, Native Americans, and the NCAA

According to the NCAA, this block "U" with a feather attached
is an "offensive" logo. Apparently no one at the NCAA has asked the
Native American tribe involved what they think, however.

Now for a brief descent into triviality. Apparently the NCAA has decided that Native American "mascots" are no longer acceptable for its member schools. It also apparently does not matter whether or not the Native American tribe in question approves of the use of its name (which is the case with the Florida State Seminoles and my team, the Utah Utes). Read all about the NCAA action here.

I am somewhat ambivalent about all this, but above all I think we are witnessing political correctness run amok. In Utah's case the school gave up the offensive name "Redskins" in 1972. Since then the University has pretty much had an open offer to the Ute tribe: Any time you want us to stop using your tribal name, just tell us, and we will stop. The current Utah logo looks like the one above, right. It's approved by the Ute tribal council and should not be offensive to anyone-- even the NCAA.

Sadly, the NCAA is governed by a President's Council, which consists of a bunch of university presidents. Not surprisingly, we are talking about a gaggle of academics and the Council is not, shall we say, a hotbed of center-right thought. What else can we expect from such a group?

Probably anticipating the inevitable triumph of PC thinking, the University has long had a plan in place to switch to another mascot and logo if that ever becomes necessary. Enter the red-tailed hawk, a majestic bird that is indigenous to Utah (and to most of North America, for that matter).

Maybe someday the Utah logo will someday look like this one:

The school could do worse. A student wearing an attractively cartoonish red-tailed hawk suit and named Swoop already dances and performs other antics at football and basketball games. Here's Swoop:

(That's the BYU Cougar he's holding in a somewhat compromised position.)

I have no idea what the Florida State Seminoles are going to do. Maybe they'll become the Swamp Hawks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will take this "Native American" issue seriously when they also demand that the following teams also change their names:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Boston Celtics (offensive to the Irish),
Cleveland Browns (offensive to Latinos and Asian Indians),
LAA Angels (offensive to atheists),
SF Giants (offensive to tall people),
GB Packers and Purdue Boilermakers (offensive to unions),
Holy Cross Crusaders (offensive to Muslims),
Oakland A's (offensive to illiterates).

If this seems ludicrous, then maybe they will understand why the rest of the country thinks they are being overly-sensitive and childish. (I may agree on the Redskins, though.) 

Posted by Joe C.

Sunday, August 07, 2005 9:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Seminoles, according to media reports over the weekend, are planning to sue the NCAA over this politically "correct" lunacy. I was a bit disappointed that the University of Utah appears poised to cave in--although adopting a "wait and see attitude"--but years of watching the University of Utah's constant efforts to curry favor as a member of the cultural elite eliminates any real surprise over their stance in the face of criticism from the center-left. (On second thought, can supine obeissance really be characterized as a "stance"?)

To see the true offensiveness ("hostile" and "abusive" are the terms from the NCAA announcement) in this brouhaha, consider this quote from the president of the self-appointed (?) National Council on Racism in Sports and Media, one Mr. Vernon Bellecourt, that appeared in the articles in Saturday's Salt Lake Tribune :

On the position of the Ute tribe authorizing the University of Utah's use of the name:

"Before [universities] seriously decide to change, they run out and find some old hang-around Uncle Tom-Tom, a Ute in the case of Utah . . who says 'Oh, we just love the Runnin' Utes,' . . . of course that's exactly what they did to Martin Luther King."

On the meddling of a non-Indian organizations, here's an article describing the reaction of some of Mr. Bellancourt's so-called "Uncle Tom-Toms," Ute Reaction: Tribe claims right to decide on name


Posted by BlueBuffoon

Monday, August 08, 2005 7:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course we all know what the University of Illinois Board of Trustees will do. In the face of actually having to make a decision and demonstrate leadership, they'll cave.

Aren't there more important issues for the NCAA? Couldn't they work harder to make sure athletes are also getting educations? 

Posted by Matthew Peek

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 7:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well my almamater is suing the NCAA to reverse the ban. As a matter of fact they hired attorney Barry Richards who successfully represented President Bush in the 2000 Florida recount. Also Governor Jeb Bush has spoken out strongly in support of the partnership that FSU and the Florida Seminole tribe have. I have it posted on my blog if interested. FSU is going after the NCAA on this pea brain PC move.

Go Noles………………………………………….

Posted by Steve

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 2:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great move by the NCAA and universities to take the right stance on banning offensive mascots. It should not matter what you, your Native American friend or other minority groups think on the topic. The fact of the matter is that we allow Jack Asses to run around and make a mockery of other oppressed cultures in sporting venues. Are we not above blatant racism in this country? Of course, the stupid and ignorant will believe this sort of "honoring" will "preserve" entire cultures from extinction. Who in their right mind would take this form of honor over action to eliminate poverty, racism and inequality? Obviously, you would, along with other brainless and insensitive sports fans that know and care more about their favorite sports teams than the people who suffered through decades of oppression and assimilation policies. The only demonstrated “honor” shown by mascot patriotism is silent homage to those who would oppress, rape and exploit due to race.  

Posted by University of Utah Student

Sunday, August 21, 2005 2:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, August 21, 2005 2:53:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home