Inconsistent chatter from a Sacramento-based 'Sconi attorney.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Much Ado About Nothing

Much is being made about the NCAA's decision to bar the use of "allegedly" offensive names from participation in NCAA sanctioned post-season events. I use the word "allegedly" for there are those who say that team names disparage groups of people when used by both collegiate and professional teams (see North Dakota Fighting Sioux, Washington Redskins, Mukwonago Indians), and those who feel these team names honor said groups of people (see Florida State Seminoles, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Illinois Fighting Illini).

To be completely honest, I can care less. I think there are much, much bigger fish to fry when it comes to racism and prejudice that is still However, if a team name does truly offend a group of people, and that group of people truly believes that the use of the team name is a form of racism, prejudice, disparagement, or intolerance, then something should be done. It may symbolize a badge of discrimination and must be removed.

But this is on a case-by-case basis. Those groups that do feel honored by the name, should not be forced to lose that honor just because it offends others outside of the group honored. Specifically, the Flordia State Seminoles. The Seminole Tribe of the State of Florida has consistently and recently approved the school's use of their tribe's name, their logo, and their mascot. However, the NCAA has cited Seminole tribes outside of Florida as being the complaining parties. And that the honor the Seminoles of Florida feel is actually embarassment, harassment, and animus to Seminoles outside the state.

But honestly, who cares about these Seminole tribes outside of Florida. The team name is specifically mentioning the "FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES". It is talking about the Seminoles of Florida... the Seminoles who are HONORED by the name. I guess the school could edit their name to the "FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA" just to be more specific. However, I am sure that this will still offend someone.

Thus, I believe that the only true solution is for teams with offensive names to just drop their nickname. Just drop it and do not replace it.

For example, my hometown high school - Mukwonago - should just stop calling their team the Indians and remove their "allegedly" offensive emblem, and any reference to Indians on the jerseys, etc. Then the team would just "officially" be called Mukwonago. Unofficially, however, fans could continue to call the team whatever they chose. Some would just call them Mukwonago. Others would continue to refer to the team as the "Indians". Others might call them "Muktown". SOme might adopt a new name, like the "Bears" or "Phantoms". Etc.

(For those not in the know, "Mukwonago" translates to "Place of the Bear". Mukwonago is also nestled just east of Phantom Lake.)

However, I am sure that just dropping any nickname would still be offensive to someone. So, if pressed, they could just use "Gold" as a replacement.


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