Monday, August 15, 2005

Update: The NCAA PC Police And Native American Symbols

The emblem of the Fighting Sioux,
which was designed by a respected
Native American artist

Charles E. Kupchella, the President of the University of North Dakota, whose nickname is the Fighting Sioux, has written an open letter to the NCAA and also held a press conference. Both are accessible here. President Kupchella has written a fine letter. Representative excerpts:

Is it only about applying names to sports teams? If so, would this be extended to the use of the names of all people, or is it just American Indians? Why would you exempt the “Fighting Irish” from your consideration, for example? Or “Vikings,” which are really fighting Scandinavians, or “Warriors,” which I suppose could be described as fighting anybodies? Wouldn’t it be “discrimination on account of race” to have a policy that applies to Indians but not to Scandinavians or the Irish, or anybody else for that matter? This seems especially profound in light of a letter to me from President Brand (8/9/05) in which he, in very broad-brush fashion and inconsistent with the NCAA’s recent much narrower pronouncement, said, “we believe that mascots, nicknames or images deemed hostile or abusive in terms of race, ethnicity or national origin should not be visible at our events.”

. . . .

If the NCAA has all this power, why not use it to restore intercollegiate athletics to the ideal of sportsmanship by decoupling intercollegiate athletics from its corruption by big budgets? Why not use the power to put a halt to the out-of-control financial arms race that threatens to corrupt even higher education itself?
What a bizarre ivory tower sideshow the NCAA has begun.


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