23 August 2005

Mascot Fight


Now the NCAA wants to shut down the use of mascots in postseason play. Way to go guys. Good thing political correctness is more important than common sense. And of course the whole thing will get blamed on geeky liberals who have nothing to do with sports. Just to address those individuals first: you cannot at the same time argue that Ole Miss and UNLV should remove their mascots for "lionizing" the Confederacy and then argue that other schools "degrade" certain demographics (like Native Americans). You can't have it both ways.

But I'll answer that question for you right now.

Mascots represent heroes. They are lionizing nods to the past. People don't pick wussy, easily defeated ideas to represent their teams and schools, they pick the sentimental, beloved and feared symbols of old. Southerners adore every team with the name "Rebel" in it.

Can you think of a single individual whose family comes from Ireland to get ticked at Notre Dame's mascot? How about Greeks and every team named the Spartans? Does any American object to New England calling themselves the Patriots? As if the rest of us weren't? How about theives and crooks being associated with such fearsome folk as Oakland, Tampa Bay and Brunswick High School: Pirates one and all? Have you ever met footwear that was offended by Boston's baseball team for something other than losing? How about the Ragin' Cajuns, what about their feelun's? How about Christians being offended by the Demon Deacons, the Paladins, the Crusaders, the Blue Devils, or the Red Terrors? White people offended by the moniker "Sooner?" (I'd say that Native Americans might be more apt to disagree with the lionization of a group of folks who actually stole their land, the same way Southerners should heed the historical significance of the Kansas Jayhawks being named after groups of men who went into Missouri to kill Southerners before the Civil War.) What about good, peace loving, law abiding civic volunteer workers, contributors to the community, and the obvious black mark laid upon them by the mascot of the University of Tennessee? The list goes on and on and on.

The NCAA is being ridiculous, and should be called on it by everyone who loves American Sports Tradition. As a matter of fact, they should be called on it by every American who loves to celebrate common sense. They should be decried by the left and civil rights leaders the loudest, and here's why: There are things that are far more offensive in this world than the Florida State University Seminoles et al. There is real racism and sexism and discrimination out there that needs to be rooted out, challenged and destroyed. This mascot stuff is flash to bang time. Press so folks in charge can look like they care about diversity and respect while the real problems are left untended. I guess its a lot easier to gloss over how minority athletes are used and discarded by some programs by going after a hot button issue that garners up all the ink.

Mascot decsions should ultimately rest with the schools, their students and alums, and the states that pay for them. But just because I know that ain't the way its gonna go, I have a suggestion for all the Florida States of the world.

Every tournament you get into, name yourself something ridiculous and really take this issue to the NCAA. Think about these following mascot names, and enjoy.

- Florida State Correctional Facility
- Illinois NCAA Athletic Violation Investigators
- Arkansas State Busybodies
- North Dakota Thought and Speech Police

Let them show up on national television a few times, and I bet this issue goes away.



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