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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • That's What I Think: Time to change insensitive names of sports mascots

  • Editor's Note: Today's column takes a satirical view that is not the editorial view of The Rolla Daily News.
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  • Editor’s Note: Today’s column takes a satirical view that is not the editorial view of The Rolla Daily News.
    The commentators on the sports talk stations, particularly ESPN Radio, spend a good deal of time talking about the inappropriate names of sports team mascots.
    They are appalled that in this day and time and in a Christian nation we would use names that hurt others’ feelings.
    I fully support the change of names. I fully support a national search for insensitive names and a campaign to rid us of insensitivity in naming of sports teams.
    According to the national sports media, the worst name of all is that of a football team, the Washington [Redacted]. I can’t bring myself to type the name; it is so insensitive that I am doing what Mother Jones Magazine has done and editing it out. The owner of the Washington [Redacted] has said the name will never, NEVER, be changed. Well, we’ll see.
    But let’s turn our attention to some other insensitive names. There are, of course, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cleveland Indians and the Golden State Warriors. All of those names must go.
    Every name having anything to do with American Indians, Native Americans, Original Americans, whatever you want to call them, needs to go. Good-bye Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks and all the rest of you.
    But insensitivity goes beyond the feelings of Native Americans. There’s a whole host of names that need to go, such as anything to do with the Irish or the Scots or Highlanders or the Vikings. These could hurt someone’s feelings, and sports should not hurt anyone’s feelings. Let’s get rid of names like Norsemen, Dutchmen and Plainsmen.
    I read that the administration at the University of Mississippi is so ashamed of its “Ole Miss” nickname that it has asked that the name be downplayed and only used “appropriately,” whatever that means, because it hurts the feelings of blacks or African Americans, whatever you want to call them. The name carries historical baggage with it.
    There are some other names that need to be changed because they carry baggage, too.
    For instance, we need to get rid of the name Aggies, used by the Texas A&M University, the University of California at Davis, New Mexico State and Utah State, and perhaps others.
    We need to get rid of this name, not because the name is insensitive to farmers, but because it makes people feel good about farming and we do not need to celebrate farmers or farming.
    Think about it. Farmers tear up Mother Earth with their plows. They put pesticides on their crops to kill insects. They raise cattle that pass gas and contribute to global warming. They produce meat. Meat! We all know meat is bad.
    Page 2 of 3 - The use of the name Aggies puts farmers in a good light. Is that really what we want to do?
    And the Lumberjacks: That, too, is a name that brings positive publicity to a segment of people who need not be celebrated. Think about it. Only God can make a tree, the poet said, but a lumberjack can cut it down and make it into a desk. Lumberjacks look at a stand of trees and want to clearcut them.
    Here’s something else; there is a place called Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. They have a rivalry with Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. They are the Demons. That’s another name we need to get rid of.
    In fact, we might want to get rid of both of those schools through some legislation, for not only do they have bad mascots, but the two play an annual football game in the Southland Conference with the winner getting to keep the trophy for a year.
    The trophy is named Chief Caddo, and he is a solid wooden Indian. That's right, a cigar store Indian, just like Kaw-Liga, the wooden Indian standing by the door who fell in love with an Indian maid over at the antique store. Are you as aghast as I?
    Perhaps the worst team name, though, is the Miners. That’s the name of the University of Texas at El Paso team, and I am hanging my head in shame to remind you that it is also the name of the Missouri University of Science and Engineering right here in Rolla.
    Joe Miner is our local mascot. Can you just imagine Joe, when he is not cheering on the teams, out in some lead mine, bringing up poisonous lead to hurt children and despoil nature.
    Or maybe he is bringing up coal to heat houses—and the Earth, wreaking havoc through global warming. Or uranium to be used in nuclear reactors. Or even gravel out of some pristine stream. OMG, he’s probably a fracker!
    Do you really want to cheer on the Miners? I think not.
    Now there is also a local team named the Bulldogs, and I have mixed emotions about whether that should be allowed or not. The name Bulldogs conjures up dogfighting for me, which is how the breed was started.
    Do you want your children to play for a team that promotes dogfighting? Do you want your children to shout, “Go, FIGHT, Win, Bulldogs!” No, I know you don’t. But I’m willing to compromise and keep the Bulldogs team name as long as there are no cheers about fighting.
    Let’s come up with some new cheers. Today’s Bulldogs are not fighters; that has been bred out of them. They like to sleep on laps, so new cheers at Bulldogs football games should include the words, “sleep” and “cuddle.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Bulldogs are also prone to overheating and need shade and ventilation, so cheers should also include lines like “Cool down, Bulldogs, cool down.”
    Their nasal cavities are small, so they are heavy breathers and loud snorers. I also knew some folks a long time ago with a bulldog named Harvey who was prone to passing gas. Other cheers might be something like, “Don’t snore, Bulldogs, don’t snore” or “Fart’em back, fart’em back, way back.”
    Just some ideas of peaceful ways to cheer on the Bulldogs without resorting to images of dogfighting.
    Well, I hope you join me in my campaign to shed our sports of offensive names.
    Soon, we’ll turn our attention to food sold in local grocery stores.
    I want to see an end to serving of [Redacted] salted peanuts and Hebrew National hot dogs anywhere.

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