While seemingly everybody and his brother, including President Barack Obama, were sprinting to microphones, ESPN cameras and Twitter accounts to make sure they were among the first to extol the virtues of Jason Collins, another division of the PC police has been busy these days banning mascots.
Last week, this particular group was in a semi-tizzy over the newly redesigned Huskie logo for UConn athletics, with one feminist student insisting the new, meaner logo would “intimidate women and empower (the) rape culture.” And this week, with ESPN giving wall-to-wall with coverage to Jason Collins’s announcement, D.C. Councilman David Grosso revived the spat over the NFL’s Redskins moniker by “calling on” the team to change the name because, naturally, it is “racist and derogatory.” This has been stated before of course. Meanwhile, noted Native American expert Elizabeth Warren was not available for comment.
All of which demonstrates that political correctness is a chronic condition, hypocritical at its foundation, and one that will never go away. Succinctly, the mascot police will never be pleased. While incensed over the fact that sobriquets like Redskins, Seminoles, Indians, Braves and even Warriors insult Native Americans by belittling their cultures, they can be equally self-righteous over other mascots unfairly glorifying other cultures. To wit, in 2003, there was a big to do at UMass over the nickname “Minutemen,” who represent a bunch of God-fearing white guys with guns! Aided by the animal rights crowd no less, the Minutemen held off an attempt to change the name to Grey Wolves. You can’t make this stuff up.
In 1994, the UAB Blazers jettisoned “Blaze,” a character who was deemed “too male and too Caucasian,” and replaced him with a dragon. No word yet from Jeremy Lin on how the Asian community feels about that.
So, where does all of this consternation over mascots go from here? RGIII, who has the advantage of being black and talented, yet carries the stigma of being Christian, heterosexual, a “cornball brother” and of maybe being – wait for it – Republican - perhaps gave soft covert support for keeping the name by tweeting about political correctness earlier this week. With all of his baggage, Griffin’s take will only rev up the PC crowd. The news for team owner Daniel Snyder could only get worse if Tim Tebow were to tweet support for the name ‘Skins.
Which brings up a tangent to these discussions that no one mentions. Snyder, who I have no affection for, is a private citizen who paid a ton of money for the NFL franchise known as “The Redskins.” A large part of what he was paying for was the name equity, and in pro sports, that equity resides in the nickname. No one is a Washington fan, but millions are Redskins fans. In fact, across Southern Virginia and much of the Carolinas, Washington is hated but the Redskins are loved. If the name goes, I’m betting so do many of the fans. Snyder will lose a lot of value, for which he will no doubt be upset.
Then there is the slippery slope issue. Is it okay to glorify a bunch of white guys with weapons – like Vikings, Patriots, Tar Heels, Cowboys, Mountaineers, or perhaps Commodores? And if it’s insulting to Native Americans to be a mascot, why is it glorifying to a bunch of white guys in the first place? Then there’s religion: where do we come down on Angels and (Blue) Devils? Let’s not forget the most schizo name of all, the Demon Deacons. I won’t even mention the Fighting Irish.
And are small folks insulted by Titans and Giants? Dolphins are worshipped by the PC crowd, so is calling a team the Dolphins a good thing or a bad thing? I’m so confused.
These questions are perhaps humorously absurd, yet no more absurd than this entire discussion is. The point is that the PC thought police and speech police crowd will never be satisfied. For them to be satisfied is for them to be out of business. Thus, even if every team is called the Wildcats, and all the players are bi-sexual, the mascot police will find something to be upset about. Unless, perhaps, we can get a blessing from Jason Collins. He is, after all, the new standard for courage, understanding, enlightenment and wisdom. Or so I’ve heard all week from ESPN. What say you, Jason? Redskins? Redtails?