Monday, August 08, 2005

More on the Mascots

To extend upon this PC silliness, here's a good case-in-point from the not so distant past... Marquette used to be the Warriors. The same scenario played out there as could potentially be playing out at Utah, Illinois, Central Michigan, Florida State and others in the near future, and the nickname was changed to the Golden Eagles (a name most everyone there hated). Then later to the Gold, which was abandoned after one week of protest. During the course of this, 80% of the people surveyed just wanted it to be the Warriors again. Two Marquette trustees even offered to give the school $1-million each if it returned the nickname to Warriors. They are even willing to drop the potentially offensive Native American mascot, since the word Warrior could be used for non-Indian connotations. Seems reasonable... but the university decreed that no votes for the Warriors name will be counted in the selection of the new mascot. Now, since the popular selection is out of the mix, they are again the Golden Eagles by a 54% vote. A majority vote received even thought the respondents surveyed said the following:

Additionally, ten years after its introduction, the survey indicates that the Golden Eagles nickname, logo and mascot have not generated a strong sense of pride or sense of identity with the Marquette community. In fact, the words most often used to describe the Golden Eagles nickname are boring (57%), weak (55%) and common (52%).

Inspiring, no? As Adam points out in the comments, there are some truly offensive mascot names (Savages is a good case-in-point), but to blanket all of the Native American themed team names as "hostile or abusive" is a bit extreme. In saying all of this, I don't think we'll ever see team names as established as the Seminoles or the Illini change, just like the professional names haven't changed (Braves, Indians, Redskins, Chiefs, etc.). Too much money and customer loyalty are tied to them. And really... what's offensive about Illini? Ute? Chippewa? Seminole? Aren't they honoring the tribes they name? I may very well be wrong on this one... I'm not Native American and I may be missing the point. But I just don't get it...

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