The Re-Name Game

Redskins and Indians

By Phil Hecken

We’re ready for the next Uni Watch design contest, and this one is a little different than all the past contests — we’ll be doing more than just designing a logo and uniform for the two teams whose current logos you see above, we’ll be deciding upon new names for them as well. Just why might the Cleveland baseball team and the Washington football team need new names and logos, you might ask. If the above graphic doesn’t make it pretty clear, please allow me to elaborate. But first, the rules:

Today, we’ll be voting on a new name for the Cleveland baseball and Washington football teams. I’ll leave the polls open all week and next weekend, the winners of the new names for both teams will be announced. After that, it’s pretty much going to be like the other contests on UW — using the new name, design a new logo and uniform for each team. I know a lot of people are quite fond of the current colors of the Washington team (burgundy and gold), as am I, so when it comes time to designing a new uniform, feel free to use the current colors and/or template. Just make sure you incorporate the new name and a logo into them. OK? OK. Now, onto the voting:

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Indians:


Redskins:


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If it isn’t apparent as to why we’re having this contest, the idea came into being just over two weeks ago (March 2, 2012 to be precise), when there was quite of bit of commentary by many readers about the North Dakota athletic department, and the discussion over their nickname “Fighting Sioux.” As is our wont, in the comments, some heated (and mostly respectful) statements were made, and the conversation inevitably morphed to pro teams that use Native American (or other ethnic) names and logos. I won’t rehash all the commentary, but you’re free to refer to it by following the link above.

Hatched within those comments was a suggestion put forth by a reader who goes by “JAson” which read as follows:

“I’ll just throw out the suggestion of a rename-the-Indians contest for weekend posts. Maybe the commUnity could come up with a good replacement nickname then we could have a design contest to go along with the new name? Any takers??”

And the contest in which we’re about to engage was born.

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Now, I’m sure many of you agree with me that both the current names for the Cleveland and Washington teams are, if not outright racist, are certainly offensive. And before any of you say, “Oh, get the hell of your high PC horse,” I’ll be the first to say I’m NOT one to jump on the PC bandwagon. I believe the decision to remove the cigar from the Tampa Smokers uniform and the (thankfully rescinded) decision to remove the gun from the Houston Colt .45s jerseys in the name of “political correctness” was absolute hogwash. But changing the logos and name of the Washington team, and the logo (and almost assuredly) and name of the Cleveland team are far beyond what anyone should consider “political correctness.”

Cleveland BluesLet’s take Cleveland first. A bit of background on how the team came to acquire its name: According to Sports E-Cyclopedia, “Professional baseball in Cleveland pre-dates the founding of the American League. Cleveland had teams in the National Association, early National League, and American Association before the Cleveland Spiders joined the National League in 1889. … The Indians never manage to win the pennant and after the 1898 season their owner Frank Robinson buys the Cardinals and ships all the stars, including Cy Young, with him to St. Louis. The remaining Spiders team is so bad no one shows up to watch them play and the team is forced to play every game on the road for a few months. The Spiders finish with an embarrassing 20-134 record, which still remains the worst in baseball history. After the season the Spiders are one of four teams the National League disbands leaving Cleveland without a Big League Ballclub.” Apparently, at some point in the 1890s, the name “Indians” was also used informally.

Cleveland NapsBy the time 1901 rolls around, the American League forms and Cleveland is awarded a franchise, which is nicknamed the “Blues” and then the “Bronchos.” They keep that name for a few years, and during this time, UW hero, and godfather of the stirrup, Nap Lajoie joins the team — quickly the team is re-nicknamed the “Naps.” They’d continue to play as the Naps until Lajoie left. It was at this point when the Cleveland team got the name it carries today. Here’s how:

With the departure of Nap Lajoie, the team needed a new name, so it decided to revive a name the old 1890’s National League team had once use, Indians in honor of Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian, who played for the team in 1897. In their first season known as the Indians the club finishes in seventh place with a 57-97 record. (Sports E-Cyclopedia)

Indians logo 1928While the naming of the team, at least on the face, was ‘honorific,’ the use of offensive and derogatory imagery began in 1928 and continues to this day. The current smiling “Chief Wahoo” isn’t cute or honorable in the least. You wouldn’t put the caricature of a black man or an Asian man on a sleeve or a cap, would you? Of course not. So why is it acceptable to have an extremely red-faced, smiling caricature of a Native American on a cap? That’s right, it’s not.

Indians logo 1946-50In fact, if you knew nothing of the baseball club, and someone showed you these caps and told you they were legitimate teams, you’d tell them (or at least I hope you would) to “GTFO.” Want more proof? You wouldn’t use the logo on the left for a ballclub, right (even though it’s technically more correct, since ‘American Indians’ were misnamed from the start). You wouldn’t even, in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, use whites for a team name, right? Of course not. Let’s look at one more. You’d never accept any of the other three logos without feeling a bit repulsed, so why would the one currently in use be “OK”? That’s right, it isn’t.

So that’s why we need to rename (and re-logo) the Indians.

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Washington Redskins Logo 1937-51The Washington team is even worse. While at least the name “Indian” is not in and of itself offensive, the term “Redskin” most certainly is. You wouldn’t name a team “Niggers” or “Kikes” (not if you wanted to ever show your face in public, anyway), but “Redskin” is somehow “OK”? No, it’s not. And it would be one thing if the name had a deep historical precedent (at least “Indians” has some ‘historical’ claim), but the entire name and team were shrouded in racism at the time the name was selected. A review of the book, “Racist Redskins” (for the review, click here) explains it better than I ever could. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, allow me to select some choice passages:

The (Redskins) nickname had been the brainchild of George Preston Marshall, a laundry magnate and flamboyant showman who had bought the Boston Braves football team in 1932. As his second head coach, Marshall hired William “Lone Star” Dietz, a journeyman coach at the collegiate level whose mother was most likely a Sioux. It was in “honor” of Dietz, who coached the team for just two seasons and who at Marshall’s urging willingly put on war paint and Indian feathers before home games, that Marshall changed the team’s name to the Redskins. When Marshall, frustrated by Boston fans’ lack of support, moved the franchise to the nation’s capital in 1937, the coach was gone, but the team name stayed.

The move to Washington meant that the Redskins were now the young National Football League’s most southern team, its only one below the Mason-Dixon Line. Marshall, a native of Grafton, West Virginia, a small railroad town, had grown up with very Southern attitudes. In 1936, when he proposed to his wife, Corrine, he arranged a set piece to impress her, writes Thomas G. Smith in Showdown: he wooed the former MGM starlet “amidst fragrant honeysuckle while a group of African American performers sang ‘Carry Me Back to Old Virginny’” (“Massa and Missus have long since gone before me/Soon we will meet on that bright and golden shore”). Attending them were two young black women dressed in costumes out of Gone With the Wind (published that same year) who brought them mint juleps. Marshall aggressively marketed the Redskins as the South’s team. He would be the last NFL owner to integrate his team and did so after years of heavy resistance and only because of government pressure.

Redskins Alt Logo 1960-65Now, maybe the author of that book has an ax to grind. Maybe his facts are slightly askew. But there is more than enough evidence elsewhere to point to the fact that the name chosen by Marshall was, even if not considered by the standards of the time, offensive if not outright racist. The logo most certainly is. Beginning in 1937, and, except for a brief 2 year respite during the time Vince Lombardi redesigned the uniforms to look like his championship Packers teams, the Washington football club has always used a Native American (one whose skin tone was decidedly darker than red), with an especially offensive alternate logo in use from 1960-1965.

The helmet has also used Native American imagery, since the first logo was added in 1959. That was used until 1964, and replaced with the spear logo, which stayed on the helmet until the “Lombardi ‘R’” (less offensive, but still using feathers). It was quickly replaced in 1972 with the Native American head (inside a tribal drum with attached feathers) that is basically the same logo as they use today.

Do you consider this offensive? If not, then I ask you whether you consider this or this to be offensive. And if the names of either of those teams were “Blackskins” or “Yellowskins,” complete with a cartoonish caricature, surely then you’d find them off-putting, at the very least, yes?

Yet the Redskins organization refused to change the name, even after being taken to court:

In 1992, four years after Jesse Jackson joined Stanford students in chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go,” the Native American writer and activist Suzan Harjo, who had moved to Washington, D.C., in the 1970s, became the lead plaintiff in a case against the Washington Redskins football organization. She was joined by six other Native Americans, including the writer Vine Deloria Jr. This intended blow on behalf of Native American dignity—an attempt to force the team to change its name—took the form of a trademark registration case. Under the Lanham Act of 1946, any “mark” that is disparaging or that may bring a group of citizens into disrepute is not afforded the normal trademark protections.

One last passage from “Racist Redskins” sums it all up very well:

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary labels “redskin” as “usually offensive,” placing it in the company of “darky,” “kike,” and “dago.” But the Redskins fought the suit for years, and finally, in 2009, the Supreme Court refused to hear the plaintiff’s appeal, letting stand a lower court decision in favor of the football team chiefly on the grounds that the plaintiffs had waited too long to file their claim.

Would the plaintiffs have won had they filed sooner or chosen a different legal claim? I’m not a lawyer so I wouldn’t even hazard a guess, but obviously the team could change the name if they so choose.

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I’m sorry to have gone on so long about this (and I could easily go on for another 2,000 words), but it is something about which I feel very strongly. As I say, I’m opposed to the PC Police cleansing things (particularly historical uniforms) for our “betterment.” But this goes far beyond PC. This is about fairness and decency. You can cite to me all the “polls” and “surveys” you want that purport “80% of the ______ tribe don’t find the Redskins name and logo offensive.” But if I told you a survey said “20% of African Americans find the name Nigger Offensive” you wouldn’t go touting that as evidence that the term is perfectly acceptable to use.

It’s not just the Washington football team or the Cleveland baseball team. There are other teams at the pro and college level that continue to make use of Native American names and imagery — whether with tacit approval or not — and those should change as well. But history and the Supreme Court seem inclined to keep permitting the use of these names and symbols.

In that comments of that article from March 2 that I cited above, Paul put it in a different (but equally compelling) light. And he looks at it from another equally important (if not more so) perspective:

It’s not about whether the names themselves are “derogatory”; it’s about whether a culture that stole a continent through a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing has any right to be appropriating the cleansed culture’s iconography. THAT’S what’s offensive — cherrypicking names and imagery from a people you more or less destroyed, and using that imagery to SELL STUFF. It’s vulgar.

Well said Paul, well said.

OK — I’ve had my say. There aren’t too many issues about which I feel this strongly, but this is one of the big ones. Maybe our little “Rename the Cleveland and Washington Teams” contest can spur on some meaningful change. Maybe not. But at least I got this off my chest (which probably now has a giant bulls-eye for some of you). Fire away.

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colorize thisColorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Bit smaller set today, but still featuring the G&G Boys, and a bonus — I had been sent some colorizations about 2 weeks ago that I completely missed posting, so I’m running them today as if they were brand new. We’ll start with those.

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Up first is Pete Woychick, who has sent in some nice colorizations before:

Hi Phil
Two more NHL colorizations:

Jean Beliveau (image source—and a nice article—here)

The image is rather grainy (newsprint scan?) but I couldn’t resist those Bruins uniforms. Judging from the article and the uniforms, I believe this is early- to mid-1960s, so this game would have been in Boston. (I was a little disappointed I wasn’t able to include the distinctive blue kickplate from the old Montreal Forum.) I confess I have no idea what is going on with the Boston socks, as apparently no two were alike, haha!

1928 Detroit Cougars (image source here)

Talk about protecting the net! Is it just me, or does the skater nearest the puck look a bit like Frank Sinatra? I was really pleased with the way adding a touch of blue to the windows in the background made the whole scene feel more cold and wintry.

Cheers!
—Pete

Thanks Pete! Sorry for not running these when you sent them in!

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Up next is “Curious” George Chilvers, with three (count ‘em) THREE for us this week:

Hi Phil

Thanks for the kind words :)

I’ll set things off for this week with this colourisation of the 1912 Great Britain Olympics gold-medallists. I had a look through the records and miraculously only one of the team (Joseph Dines) fell in the First World War which started just two years later – although a couple did receive injuries. Of strange note however is that the goalkeeper, Ronald Brebner, died on 14 November 1914 as a result of head injuries while playing in goal for Leicester Fosse.

You will note that, although the shirts are uniform, socks and shorts are not. This was quite common at the time that the organisers of the team provided shirts but the rest of the kit was the responsibility of the players. So the shorts in this picture are of differing styles and shades (the guy in the middle looks like he’s appropriated some jodhpurs!) and socks were of the players’ own teams.

Original can be found here.

George

And George the Second:

Phil

This is an action shot from a rugby game played locally back in 1972. The team in amber scoring are Orrell and the tale is told by the photographer, David Simm:

“Back in 1972 the Lancashire Cup was brought out of retirement after 70 plus years under wraps, the two finalists were Orrell RUFC and Liverpool at the Waterloo ground. It was a fairly tough match with absolutely no score until the closing minutes. There was a small contingent of news/sport photographers covering the event and even the most hardened pros were not ready for what happened with just seconds to go.

As spectators were drifting towards the club house for the obligatory post game pints Orrell forwards broke through the Liverpool defense and passed the ball to Barry Fishwick, who powered his way across the try line to win the game for Orrell.

Only two of the press contingent were able to capture the image, Gordon Hurst, from the Brock Mill Office of The Lancashire Evening Post, who had walked under the Liverpool sticks with me, after I had said “If it’s going to happen at all it has to be now”. Together we waited until Barry put the ball down at my feet and I went home with the best shot of the day.”

Liverpool RUFC by the way have a slight claim in history. When Everton FC had an argument over rent with the landlords of Anfield, they moved on to Goodison Park. But some stayed to form a new club at Anfield. They wanted to call themselves “Liverpool FC”, but the rugby club (here pictured) objected as they already had the name “Liverpool”. It was all settled amicably – but that’s how close we were to talking about “Liverpool Rovers” playing at Anfield :)

George

Here’s the black and white of the above colorization.

And…the Madness of George the Third:

And a third for this week.

As it’s St Patrick’s Day this weekend we must celebrate him, so here’s an 1895 picture of the football team of the country of his birth in their green and white shirts. Yes – that’s right – it’s Wales.

And for anyone on UW who might just be interested in team colours etc (I know it’s a long shot that there will be anyone that sad, but you never know) Ireland at the time wore pale blue shirts.

Yours, happily informative
G.

And the original of the above.

Outstanding, as always G. Love that harlequin kit of Wales!

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We close today with the second (or is it first) half of the G&G Boys, Mr. Gary Chanko, with a bit of large furniture (or would it be a Splinter with a big stick?):

Phil,

I’m always searching for unusual sports photos to colorize, particularly images that have an interesting history or backstory. While looking through the LIFE Magazine archives I came across a Ted Williams photo I’d never seen before and one that headed me down yet another rabbit hole. If you’re from central Mass or have been through the City of Gardner this story may be familiar.

In late August 1946 it was Gardner Day at Fenway Park. The September 9, 1946, issue of Life magazine [p. 53] covered the event with a feature article [worth reading], including the amazing Williams photo. When I set out to begin the colorization I had no idea what color the “Big Chair” might be. After a bit of Internet research I found my answer and a few more surprises.

You read the interesting history of the Gardner Big Chair here and get a look at the current restoration here. Enjoy.

Gary

Outstanding as well Gary.

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OK, that’s it for the colorizations for this week. Back with more next time around…

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Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson

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And the subject, believe it or not, wasn’t politics…

3-18-12 s-Slogan

And of course, the full-size.

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Thanks, Rick. That slogan might look great on a t-shirt:

Bub's Pub Mick

How ’bout you readers? Would you buy a “Benchies” t-shirt? Not necessarily either of those (I just fooled around with them one night), but if Rick were to make some tee’s up, would any of you have any interest?

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all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

And so, lets begin:

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We start with David Jarrett, who has some concepts for the Panthers of Carolina (and making sure to add the MOTB):

Phil,

Hi, I’m a HUGE Carolina Panthers fan. And when they release the new logo I kept thinking “I wonder what their uniforms would look like if they changed them.” So I designed this picture — I am by no means a professional uniform designer — I did most of it with a paint brush on Photoshop. I left the jerseys alone, basically (besides adding the new logo and Nike logo) changing the pants to black with the same “tooth” design with the logo inside, and the socks are blue. I made the helmet black because since the removed the white border, black is the best background color for it. Please let me know what you think!

David Jarrett

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Next up we have Lee Traylor, who remakes the Titans, also taking care to add the swoosh to the mock:

Phil:

Attached my attempt to re-make the most nauseating uniforms in sports. Maybe a little too boring for some people, but I love the simple, throwback look. With awesome uniforms like the Oilers’ in their past, I have zero patience for the Titans’ current atrocities. Zero. Patience.

Lee

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Finally we have Shaun Woods, who has a USA soccer redesign (also with swooshie goodness):

Phil:

This is my re-design of the new US soccer away kit. Let me know what you think.

Shaun Woods

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That is all for this weekend. Back next weekend with more.

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vilk 5 & 1 bMoVi’s NCAA 5 & 1

He’s baaaaaaaack.

That’s right, last time we heard from Señor Vilk, he was debating 5 & 1 retirement, having put up with my crap for an entire NCAA Football Season. But with spring just around the corner and his favorite sport that doesn’t involve intentionally kicking a ball in full swing, he’s revitalized and out of hibernation to bring us his first set of 5 & 1’s for the NCAA hoops tourney.

So, let’s see how he’s doing:

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Forty-four games to choose from in this first list, so there will be some honorable mentions.

Such as…New Mexico State/Indiana — I was rooting for the Aggies, but both unis are winners.

And South Florida/Temple — That Temple player must have seen my bracket.

5. VCU/Indiana — I was rooting for the Rams, but…well, you know the rest.

4. BYU/Marquette — Jimmerless, but definitely not colorless.

3. Gonzaga/Ohio State — A little busy, yes, but in a very good way.

2. St. Bonaventure/Florida State — Love the feather and the stripes.

1. Long Beach State/New Mexico — The colors, “The Beach,” the fonts…this might be the most unique game of the tourney.

And the bad one: South Dakota State/Baylor — I actually like the Baylor unis…but not on Baylor.

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Ah…MoVi. We missed ya. (But our aim is getting better)

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And THAT, folks, is a wrap. Enjoy your Sunday, vote in the “Re-Name The Indians/Redskins” polls, tell us whether you’d have any interest in a Benchies T-Shirt…and at least consider the need to change the Cleveland baseball and Washington football team names. Next weekend, I’ll announce the poll winners and set up the contest parameters.

Peace.

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“This is not a knock on the Redskins fans, or on their great teams in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, but you can’t deny that there may not be a pro sports franchise in North America that has a more troubled history regarding race. George Preston Marshall was a bad guy. He fought tooth and nail against integration. The Redskins were the last team to break the color barrier. “Redskins” is just part of the problem.” — Cort McMurray

 

360 comments to The Re-Name Game

  • The Jeff | March 18, 2012 at 7:30 am |

    I think the most offensive part of the Cleveland Indians is the name Indians. An Indian is a person who lives in India – on the other side of the planet.

    As for Chief Wahoo – it’s a silly, smiling cartoon character. That’s offensive? Have we not looked at any other human mascots? Just take a look at the swinging friar logo on the Padres. Yeah, he’s a nice realistic looking guy…err… wait, no he’s got bulging eyes and goofy grin on his exaggerated unrealistically pear-shaped face.

    • Winter | March 18, 2012 at 8:02 am |

      I think the difference between Wahoo and the swinging friar is being a friar or Padre is vocation (as are being a Raider, a Senator, a 49er, a Cowboy, even perhaps a Viking), being an Indian in this case is being a member of a race.

      That being said, it makes me wonder where “Yankee” falls into all of this.

    • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 9:46 am |

      I think the most offensive part of the Cleveland Indians is the name Indians. An Indian is a person who lives in India – on the other side of the planet.

      Really? Then why did Russell Means and his compatriots, who took over Wounded Knee, South Dakota in the 1970s in protest, name their organization the “American Indian Movement”?

      As George Carlin pointed out, the term “Indian” as applied to the native people of this continent was not because Columbus thought he had reached India; back then, what we call India was referred to as “Hindustan.” Instead, it was a result of the Italian Columbus’s attempts to speak and write in the Spanish of his employers. He tried to describe them as “a people of God” and it came out “una gente in Dios.” Indios. Indians.

      If you want to really avoid offense, use the real names: Lakota, Seminole, Apache, Potomack, Potawatomi, Navajo, Chippewa, Huron, etc.

      • Graf Zeppelin | March 18, 2012 at 11:18 am |

        I’ve read Carlin’s take on this, and it makes a lot of sense. However, it might not even be that complicated.

        The word “indian” may simply be derived from the Latin indigen, meaning “native or original inhabitant,” and is the root of the modern English word “indigenous.” Hence “American Indian” means, quite literally, “native or original inhabitant of America (i.e., the North and South American continent).

      • Arr Scott | March 18, 2012 at 11:22 am |

        AIM and other elements of the Indian power movement embraced “American Indian” in part to reclaim a word that had come to be associated, even in the minds of many Indians, with negativity and inferiority. Kind of like how the gay community embraced the insult “gay” a few years later. And also because most of the treaties, laws, and other legal documents recognizing Indian sovereignty used the terms “Indian” or “American Indian” in addition to tribal names.

        Basically, the federal government has never made a treaty with any Native American. But it has made, and mostly violated, many treaties with American Indians. So if you’re trying to enforce one of those broken treaties, you almost have to claim the name American Indian.

        I still say Canada got it right by using the term First Nations.

        • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 11:26 am |

          I agree with your take on “First Nations;” an elegant term.

    • Jonee | March 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

      Well, the bright red skin on the Chief certainly doesn’t help.

      • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

        When Bill Veeck first introduced the logo (which he always called “The Smiling Indian” or “The Laughing Indian,” the skin tone was a yellow-orange color.

  • Andrew | March 18, 2012 at 7:42 am |

    When I see “Phil Hecken” as the author I will quickly click on the red X in the upper corner of my screen. You really are beating a dead horse. That’s in the same category as protesting war or sitting in a public park, claiming to “occupy”. Way to ruin a great website.

    • The Jeff | March 18, 2012 at 7:48 am |

      You didn’t click the X fast enough if you still had time to write a comment.

    • StLMarty | March 18, 2012 at 7:51 am |

      Did you log back in to make this unnecessary comment?

      • StLMarty | March 18, 2012 at 7:51 am |

        Dammit, The Jeff.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 8:38 am |

      Protesting a war (assuming you think it’s an unjust war) is bad?

      • Canflam | March 18, 2012 at 10:26 am |

        Because you and scum like you protested the war, hte TERRORISTS and COMMIE FILTH won!!!! And worst of all a SOCIALIST COMMIE NEGRO NON-AMERICAN was elected President. If only Bull Connor was still alive, he’d set things right, you can be damn sure of that.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 10:28 am |

          Joe Big Cock Johnson adding his two cents. Don’t ever change, Joe!

  • Andrew | March 18, 2012 at 7:50 am |

    I made that decision after I read the article. I apologize for the confusion.

  • Mark | March 18, 2012 at 7:51 am |

    Atom and His Package wrote a song about this:
    http://www.youtube.c...
    Sums up the whole argument in a catchy tune!

  • Joe | March 18, 2012 at 8:04 am |

    I dunno… I know some people find it offensive but I am a Washington Redskins fan. I have no local connection to the team and if they change their name/colors/uniform then I’d be done with them. They’d have severed my connection to them.

    I mean, are Nordic people offended by the Vikings name? Where does it stop?

    • StLMarty | March 18, 2012 at 8:12 am |

      Where does what stop?

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 8:40 am |

      You really don’t get it. Vikings were not systematically exterminated from this continent and herded into concentration camps; Native Americans were. Seriously, people, try to think just a little bit harder, won’t you?

      As for “Where does it stop?,” you mean where does doing the right thing stop? Here’s a better question: Where does it start?

      • The Jeff | March 18, 2012 at 8:53 am |

        Are you opposed to Aztecs?

        Is there a certain time limit between a race being exterminated and being able to use their likeness for a sports team? Does it actually matter whose ancestors were responsible for it? Would it be acceptable for a Japanese baseball team to use Native American imagery?

        If nothing else, as insensitive as it may be, does it not remind us of that tragic past? Or would we really be better off just changing the name, sweeping it all under the rug and forgetting about it?

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 8:56 am |

          Are you opposed to Aztecs?

          As a team name? Yup.

          If nothing else, as insensitive as it may be, does it not remind us of that tragic past?

          There’s a great No Mas t-shirt that shows the Redskins, Indians, and Blackhawks logos together, each one shedding a Photoshopped tear. If the teams switched to THOSE logos, then maybe I could buy your desperate rationalization.

        • Paul M. | March 18, 2012 at 9:21 am |

          Did you really have to plug “NO MAS” in your reply…

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:26 am |

          Um, it’s their T-shirt, their idea, so I gave credit where it’s due. That’s such a difficult concept to grasp?

      • Juke Early | March 18, 2012 at 9:36 am |

        Some people don’t understand much. Meaning gets co-opted by the passage of time & the lack of empathy. There is a difference between what is now a hackneyed phrase “politically correct,” and having discretionary reasoning. The ability to be cognitive is missing in many people — though very few of us doesn’t have a hole or two in our game.

        But thinking renaming these teams would only serve a superficial correction, indicates no grasp of humanity. To have the name of the team in our capitol be so racially insensitive, is jaw-dropping. If they were really to change their nickname, and a fan(s) stopped being so for that reason? they are simply and adamantly proving they are unmitigated morons.

        As for the nick of my old home town team— no one is 100% sure. But since the Dutch founded New Amsterdam/New York being the Brits rename, I think Jan Kees meaning John Cheese is the likely source. But it also has ties to jounker, or young men. Either way, I liked Bronx Bombers as a kid. Sadly, that could be considered politically incorrect now. Couldn’t it? Fuck it— everybody else hates the Yankees, no matter what ;-)

  • BiggRigg | March 18, 2012 at 8:20 am |

    I think the PC era has run its course and there are numerous mascots that could be deemed “offensive” and are never mentioned. A few that come to mind are Nebraska’s Cornhusker, Notre Dame being the Fighting Irish, Vikings, Celtics to name a few. People need to lighten up on silly little cartoons and like everything else, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

    • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 8:32 am |

      Historical background on “Hoosier” from indiana.edu….

      The best evidence, however, suggests that “Hoosier” was a term of contempt and opprobrium common in the upland South and used to denote a rustic, a bumpkin, a countryman, a roughneck, a hick or an awkward, uncouth or unskilled fellow. Although the word’s derogatory meaning has faded, it can still be heard in its original sense, albeit less frequently than its cousins “Cracker” and “Redneck.”

      • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 8:37 am |

        The Jeff also noted Aztecs, a people who were systematically and systemically (speaking from a pathology perspective) eradicated by the Spaniards.

        But there’s no doubt there IS a line somewhere in this, and the issue seems to be, When are we approaching it, and when should we look behind us?

        • teenchy | March 18, 2012 at 9:34 am |

          Flip side to that is that a team called Aztecs still exists while a team named for their conquerors does not. Backhanded tribute?

      • Greenie | March 18, 2012 at 10:48 am |

        Hoosier is closer to Cheesehead, an insult that was co-opted by the people it applied to and embraced, taking away its negative connotations. (I say this as a proud cheesehead).

      • Oakville Endive | March 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

        Based on that definition, then I’m positive a distant cousin of the Hoosiers, is the Hoser of Canada.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 8:42 am |

      I think the PC era has run its course…

      Fascinating assertion. What, pray tell, was/is “the PC era”? What characterized it? When did it start? Why has it “run its course”?

  • Ryan M | March 18, 2012 at 8:26 am |

    I’m an Indians fan, and so generally opposed to any attempt to change the team name. I hate changing team names in general. I will say, though, that for several years I lived in a place in Canada with a high First Nations population, and for those years all of my Chief Wahoo merch stayed safely locked in the basement. I understand that it isn’t culturally sensitive, and I’m not one to try to defend it. I just don’t like the idea of changing team names, especially MY team.

    That being said, if the name HAD to change, I would pick Spiders. I guess I didn’t look close enough to see if Bronchos was on the poll list, but if I had to choose a name other than Indians, I’d want one from the team’s history. Naps was too period specific, and Blues makes no sense for Cleveland. And as for the fact that the team was horrible while named the Spiders, we have been plenty horrible while being called the Indians, too. That’s never going to change.

    • a starlit carillon | March 18, 2012 at 9:17 am |

      Spiders is just a cool name. Could lend itself to all manner of bad cartoon logos, however…

      I’m not voting. I’m not one of these “I hate PC” guys, either. So much of what is called PC is just simple kindness. Ask someone their name and what they tell you is what you call them. But I put sports in a plastic bubble, I guess, and trust the free market or something to deal with these things. Or I just hate change.

      • Ryan Mallon. | March 18, 2012 at 9:30 am |

        Yeah, that’s my biggest concern with “Spiders.” I wouldn’t want it to look minor league, like a Montgomery Biscuit with spider legs. I’d prefer something more along the lines of the Richmond Spiders silhouette logo.

        • Ryan M. | March 18, 2012 at 9:54 am |

          Or, you know, cartoonish… like Chief Wahoo.

          It’s not that I’m offended by the Indians (though maybe I should be, and would be if I wasn’t emotionally invested in the team) but that I’m embarrassed by the name and imagery. “Yeah, I’m a Cleveland fan. Yeah, the Indians… THAT team. Sorry about the logo.” I can’t see myself ever being able to divest myself of fandom because of the name and logo, though.

  • Brad | March 18, 2012 at 8:29 am |

    The Chicago Blackhawks should be re-named too. I’m amazed that these racist team names/logos have lasted as long as they have.

    • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 9:50 am |

      Um, the Blackhawks aren’t named after a particular American Indian nation; they’re named after a WW I army regiment, which in turn was named after a specific human being, Black Hawk.

      http://en.m.wikipedi...(Sauk_leader)

      • Kyle Allebach | March 18, 2012 at 11:48 am |

        Wouldn’t that still be offensive? I mean, Black Hawk, the person, fought for the British in the War of 1812, and then after the US won, we paraded him around the East Coast.

        • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

          What’s offensive? That he lost, or that as a prisoner, he was treated in an insulting manner? Neither make him less of an heroic figure; losing and a painful, degrading death didn’t make William Wallace less heroic.

  • AP | March 18, 2012 at 8:32 am |

    You can add the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Eskimos to this list.

    • Greenie | March 18, 2012 at 10:49 am |

      Nobody’s mentioned the Kansas City Cheifs either…

  • Andrew | March 18, 2012 at 8:46 am |

    Always have been a Redskins fan. I go to every game. It’s so tough to read something like this. I’m completely open racially, I went to a school with many races my whole life, except Native American. Maybe that’s the problem. We don’t know them.

    I could never see the name changing. It’s so ingrained in my life. Hail to the Redskins. Braves on the Warpath. I suggested Potomacs because that’s the inidian tribe that inhabited the Washington area, hence the name of our river. Perhaps if only that, in addition to removing the AWFUL logo that is the native american man, we could have a compromise.

    • interlockingtc | March 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

      My first high school’s nickname was the Indians. It was Indians from the school’s inception–probably sometime in the 1920’2 or ’30’s, I’m guessing. I played basketball there, wore the uniform. The mascot depicted on homecoming buttons and yearbooks was a lanky, cartoonish, headbanded, feather-wearing, hatchet slinging nut job. I didn’t think twice about it. Nobody questioned the nickname or the representation of a race of people. I don’t think there was one non-white student in the school. Maybe not even a non-white person in the town. Ignorance is bliss.

      Years later, long after I had left the state, the school dropped the nickname Indians and switched to Wolverines. Just like that.

      And guess what? The earth still spins. The team still plays. Fans still go to games. Tournaments are played. Homecoming buttons are produced. Yearbooks are illustrated. Go you mighty Wolverines.

      Andrew, you would recover if Washington dropped Redskins.

      • Donald P | March 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm |

        My High School’s nickname was and still is “Indians,” the school picked that nickname because the school was actually built on ancient Cherokee burial grounds.

  • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 8:49 am |

    Too bad Cleveland Stevedores isn’t on the list, given the city’s long waterfront history.

    For short, of course, they’d be the Cleveland Steves.

    • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 8:52 am |

      And, if they went back to vests, and had no one named Steve on the roster, they’d be the sleeveless Steveless Cleveland Steves.

      • Brendon | March 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm |

        Finally, something in all these comments that makes me smile :-)

  • Iceberg | March 18, 2012 at 8:57 am |

    While I personally am not offended by these team names, I do agree with the arguments against the Redskins and Indians. They are identified solely with race and the term “Redskin” is almost always derogatory. I appreciate the fact that the Atlanta Braves are left out of this discussion. The Braves nickname is equivalent to The Vikings. Braves are not a race, but a type of warrior and should be a perfectly acceptable nickname for a sports team.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 8:58 am |

      Yeah, those Indians — great warriors. And the darkies can really dance, and those Asians are great at math.

      • JoshuaLee | March 18, 2012 at 10:33 am |

        Yeah, and those sloppy drunk Irish are great at Fighting…

    • Winter | March 18, 2012 at 9:13 am |

      Problem with the Braves name is you can’t separate that particular type of warrior from the race, and thus the Tomahawk Chop, and other Native American based imagery.

      Essentially, the idea comes down to using a people as a mascot. Note I didn’t say persons. Cowboys aren’t a distinctive race. Nor are 49ers, Senators, even Texans.

      • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 9:35 am |

        Braves is a line-walker, alright. Like Chiefs that way, I suppose.

        A similar consideration? Not all Norwegians were Vikings, not strictly speaking. Then again, I don’t know that all Vikings were Norwegians.

        Somewhat related: Howcum no one ever objected to an automobile named Pontiac? Or did that get a pass cuz was named after a city….which was, of course, named after a particular chief?

      • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 9:54 am |

        Problem with the Braves name is you can’t separate that particular type of warrior from the race, and thus the Tomahawk Chop, and other Native American based imagery.

        That could very well be. Although, the NBA’s Warriors, over time, purged the original American Indian imagery from their team. For a short time, until last year, they used a vague Greek warrior motif.

        • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 10:08 am |

          Great minds, lol. Scroll down. I just posted the old “PHILA” Warriors logo.

  • Gary | March 18, 2012 at 9:03 am |

    I am on the opposite of this controversy from Phil which remains an issue today for a small minority. I believe the write up could have provided a better balance by noting Native Americans are widely split on the issue ( supported primarilarly by a small group of Native American activists) and the positive relationship that exists between the Seminoles and FSU.

  • Brady | March 18, 2012 at 9:10 am |

    Phil. Come on. I’m telling you, most Native Americans don’t care. It isn’t offensive. And those tribes that claim that it is just want attention. I’m full blood, my family is full blood, and we couldn’t care less whether a team is named “Redskins” or “Indians” or “Braves”…hell, call them the Injuns for all I care. (Ok, maybe that last part was just a joke.)
    But really, I don’t see any benefit or credibility to a bunch of white guys arguing about whether or not a certain race should be offended. To me, it’s a slight honor to have a team named after American Indians. You don’t have teams naming themselves The Pretty Little Ponies, do you? No, they want something intimidating. Fierce. Strong. Apparently Native Americans fit that bill.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:12 am |

      I don’t see any benefit or credibility to a bunch of white guys arguing about whether or not a certain race should be offended.

      Oh really? How about this: These team names offend ME (and Phil, and others), as an American. They reflect a shameful period of our history. We simply have no right to use these terms and imagery — they’re not ours.

      • Brady | March 18, 2012 at 9:18 am |

        Then you shouldn’t have initiated those time periods in the first place. If this is the price you have to pay, so be it. My people, on the other hand, were forced to walk thousands of miles and live under discrimination for hundreds of years. My ancestors came to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. Now, tell me who has the right to be offended.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:28 am |

          What “time periods”?

        • Brady | March 18, 2012 at 9:32 am |

          The 1700’s to 1800’s ish. Specifically, 1830 when your man, Andrew Jackson, signed the Indian Removal Act.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:33 am |

          Dude, he’s not MY man — he’s a shameful figure. I’m on your side.

        • Brady | March 18, 2012 at 9:41 am |

          I meant that he was white. That’s my bad.

      • Brady | March 18, 2012 at 9:19 am |

        As an American, are you offended by Yankees?

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:28 am |

          Not my favorite term, but at least it doesn’t describe a victimized class. It describes a PRIVILEGED class.

        • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 10:14 am |

          What’s the old joke about “Yankees”…?

          To the rest of the world, a Yankee is an American
          To southerners, Yankees are northerners.
          To northerners, Yankees come from New England.
          To New Englanders, Yankees are people who eat apple pie for breakfast.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 10:16 am |

          Never heard that one.

          This magazine still exists:
          http://www.yankeemag...

    • Jonee | March 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm |

      I have a good friend who is full blooded Apache and he thinks “Indians” and “Redskins” and their respective “mascots” are total bullshit.

  • cab647 | March 18, 2012 at 9:15 am |

    I fear walking into this discussion, but I have two points I’m interested in.

    1) How are the Indians or Redskins logos different than, say, this guy?

    http://www.findthatl...

    My gut says they are, but I struggle to find a consistent reason for why.

    2) In New Zealand, they have a team called the Chiefs, with a stereotyped image in the logo.

    http://www.mooloo.co...

    Now the Maori have as good of a relationship with European Kiwis as any indigenous people I’m aware of. This team was created in 1996ish, so PC issues were already in circulation. The name and logo were created in an late 90’s environment.

    To go one further, at the recent Rugby World Cup they had traditional Maori warrior call the teams to battle, so to speak, before every game.

    http://rugbyunplugge...

    http://c1.dmlimg.com...

    Now in the USA, that stuff would be SUPER offensive and probably raise the ire of various camps. In New Zealand, it was applauded as honoring the Maori influence on New Zealand and rugby. (I’m not an expert on NZ, but we were there for two weeks of the tournament and I have a few Kiwi friends. I’m sure some Maori somewhere didn’t like it, I’m just stating the general opinion I perceived.)

    So my question is, what’s the difference? Is it because the USA is just too uptight about this stuff? Is it because NZ didn’t have the same scope of violence as the USA with indigenous people? Is it because NZ has greater respect in more important ways (like government representation, Maori education in schools, Maori language on all public buildings, etc.)

    (Certainly would love it if we have a Kiwi or two on here that could help out the discussion.)

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:31 am |

      Yeah, the USA is “just too uptight” about ethnic cleansing, racism, etc. Get over it….

      Having traveled twice in New Zealand, I can tell you that the Maori issue (as a matter of public policy, not regarding sports per se) is VERY contentious. The Maori are basically like our blacks and our Indians rolled into one. Think they have “a good relationship with European Kiwis”? Spend a little time in the slums north of Auckland. You may find it eye-opening.

      • cab647 | March 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

        Paul, I realize that there are Maori issues, but the relationships are BETTER, than most anywhere else. The Aborigines, Native Americans, or sub-Saharan Africans would LOVE to have the sort of public voice and government concessions from European colonial powers that the Maori have. They’ve had racially reserved seats in NZ parliament since 1868, and suffrage since 1893. Maoris were able to vote in NZ long before women could in the USA. I realize this is pointing out which turd stinks less, but I don’t think its irrelevant.

        Particularly important for this discussion are the sporting influences. The Haka is a perfect example. This is a Maori tradition that is THE defining aspect of New Zealand rugby abroad. The Maori are proud of that heritage. Maoris generally love that the haka defines the All Blacks, and Maori influence on rugby has been significant. Now you could say that the Haka is an aspect of Maori culture that portrays them as savages. Some of the motions hail back to cannibalism!

        The larger point stands, that no one complains about ethnic images with the Chiefs, Waikato, New Zealand Maori, or other sporting entities. The imagery is not that different from that in the states. Even if you say race relations in NZ are bad, that only reinforces the point. There is not the anger and emotion over those teams imagery that we see in the States.

        As a side note, my question about “uptight”-ness is rhetorical. I’m obviously not a fan of ethnic cleansing, and don’t find your response particularly fair to understanding my point. I legitimately am interested in why racial imagery in NZ is not decried, and in fact celebrated, where as in the USA its seen as racism. I’m not trying to give an answer, I’m asking what I believe is a legitimate question.

      • cab647 | March 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm |

        Just one more thing that comes to mind. Someone or the other calls for the Haka to be banned about every year and a half. The thought is that its ugly, violent, or racist. Those detractors are typically British or Australian. Whenever that happens, its Maori leadership that argue for it. A racially stereotypical element is badge of pride, not shame in that situation. Why?

        • LeePNZ | March 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm |

          I know I come to this debate a little late but I was interested in this discussion even before I found these comments. Race relations is still a significant issue in NZ and issues around Maori traditional imagery in sports often crop up.

          I grew up in Hamilton, NZ, which is the home base for the Super Rugby Chiefs. In its early years, the ‘brand identity’ – for want of a better term – was criticised. I remember one of the early promotions of the team had the team’s captain on the front cover of a rugby magazine in a feathered headdress and war paint. There has been less criticism of the franchise more recently, which probably reflects the change in NZ society since the mid-90s. The area where the Chiefs are from has a significant Maori population with a historically strong tribal identity (it was the home of the Kingitanga or Maori King movement). In 1995, the tribe, Tainui, reached a settlement with the Government to address some historical grievances (see here for more info – http://www.nzhistory...). The tribe is now a significant economic as well as political influence in the area. The association between the rugby team and Maori in the area is seen as positive.

          Things like the Haka are part of the cultural traditions of Maori. If Maori imagery/traditions are used, then it is usually imagery produced by Maori and are designs that represent their history and culture. They are also paid for it. For example, in 2005 the All Blacks introduced a new haka, which had been developed by a Maori artist. I’m not sure you can call that stereotyping. Can the same be said of Chief Wahoo?

          The NZ Warriors are another team that uses Maori imagery in its logo (http://www.sportslog...). The team started in 1995. Its original logo (http://en.wikipedia....) was criticised by Maori because the tongue curved towards the “feminine” side, which was not appropriate for a male team, and was said to bring bad luck. The tongue in the current logo is straight. The team uses Maori imagery in its jerseys as well. This is one the team will wear this year: http://www.scoop.co..... Incidentally, the team was once part-owned by Tainui.

    • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 10:08 am |

      1) How are the Indians or Redskins logos different than, say, this guy?

      The leprechaun is a character of Irish cultural fiction. It’s not depicting an actual Irish person, or the Irish people. In any event, Notre Dame uses the “ND” monogram as their main athletic logo.

      • LD | March 21, 2012 at 6:34 am |

        Following the New Zealand Super Rugby theme here, do we put the Crusaders and Highlanders logos in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish catergory?

  • Winter | March 18, 2012 at 9:15 am |

    I always find it interesting that in these discussions, the Kansas City Chiefs seem to get less grief. Why is that?

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:41 am |

      For one thing, the Chiefs were not named after Native Americans. They were named after KC mayor Harold Roe Bartle, who was instrumental in moving the team from Dallas to KC and whose nickname was Chief.

      That said, the use of the arrowhead imagery is wrong and should stop.

      • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 9:57 am |

        “They were named after KC mayor Harold Roe Bartle, who was instrumental in moving the team from Dallas to KC and whose nickname was Chief.”

        You’re buying that?
        Sure, they can say it was an element in the decision (and a convenient one at that), but it’s a rationalization, quite possibly even more so now as an ex post facto attempt to engender forgiveness.
        Also begs the question, then why’d they go with an arrowhead helmet logo and this guy?
        http://4.bp.blogspot...

        And “Royals” wasn’t a nod to/spin on “Monarchs”. Was all about the cattle show, uh-huh.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 10:00 am |

          Rick, you were alive when those team names were chosen. If you know better, OK — you were there, so I’ll defer to you. I’m just going by what the official team histories have always been.

          In that case, the KC Chiefs name is every bit as unacceptable as all the others.

        • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 10:05 am |

          KC market always stuck me as odd.

          Better not sound like we’re honoring the great players from the Monarchs…some might not like that.

          But, hey, a warhooping plains Indian? No problem.

        • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 11:57 am |

          “Rick, you were alive when those team names were chosen. If you know better, OK — you were there, so I’ll defer to you.”

          ~~~~

          shit, rick was there when the first draft of the magna carta hit the parchment ;)

  • Paul M. | March 18, 2012 at 9:17 am |

    You can create a list 5 miles long about how almost EVERY team name is offensive in some sense…seriously. This is a dead horse issue.

    Why don’t you go and scream about changing the face $20 with the man responsible for the Indian Removal Act…oh wait, you get the Greatest President as change from signing up here…so it’s a fair trade off…

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:48 am |

      Yeah, why bother to even discuss doing the right thing when it’s so tedious and there are so many wrongs to right? Better to just stick with the status quo. Simpler that way.

  • teenchy | March 18, 2012 at 9:25 am |

    Thanks for picking my suggestion in the rename the Indians portion. I wont plug mine except to say it has potential for an interesting color scheme.

  • Mike Oki | March 18, 2012 at 9:28 am |

    Got that “off your chest”, eh? I’m sure you’ve lost countless hours of sleep over this. Glad you feel better now. Christ.

    Also love how instead of linking to the actual 2004 study conducted which shows 90% (not 80) of American Indians/Native Americans aren’t offended by the Redskins name, you link to some cheesy satirical comic. Apparently their cartoon depiction of a Native is less offensive to you than the Redskins logo?

    http://www.annenberg...

    Gimme a break with this self-serving blogosphere activism. Completely unnecessary for a simple uniform concept contest.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:32 am |

      Yeah, god forbid you should actually have to think about these issues….

      • Paul M. | March 18, 2012 at 9:39 am |

        I find offensive that you, a declared atheist , used the phrase “God forbid” and didn’t have the decency to at least capitalize the G.

        Please be sensitive to other peoples culture..because someone other than you may be offended…

        • Brady | March 18, 2012 at 10:24 am |

          Sorry, the 16 year old coming out in me here…killed him.

        • Todd | March 18, 2012 at 9:34 pm |

          it has always bothered me when an athiest uses God’s name in vain. Kinda makes it lose it’s “umph” don’t it?

      • Mike Oki | March 18, 2012 at 10:08 am |

        The issue being?

        Obviously it’s not whether actual natives are offended by these names, because as studies (and even a few native members on this thread) have shown, they just don’t care all that much. It is a complete non-issue to them.

        It seems to me like the ‘issue’ here is the case of irrational guilt you seem to have. Being compassionate about social injustice is one thing, but really? We have to change the names & logos of all sports teams using natives just because you don’t want to feel ‘shameful’ about a history which you had nothing to do with? God forbid you have to revisit those painful memories you don’t have…

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 10:14 am |

          Don’t put words in my mouth or feelings in my brain. I don’t feel guilt; I feel (and I have) RESPONSIBILITY.

          True, I had no role in the shameful ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from this continent. But I (and you) benefit from that shameful past every single day. With great privilege comes great responsibility. For starters, it would just be, you know, FUCKING COURTEOUS not to use the cleansed culture’s imagery as marketing devices.

        • Paul M. | March 18, 2012 at 10:23 am |

          Paul,

          Stop speaking for “everyone”. It would be a courteous gesture if you were just as concerned with where you get your Apple products, or took into consideration the people who make your Mac, because that you could make a real change by not purchasing Mac products, but no…sports history is more important than the poor bastard building your latest ipad in slavery.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 10:27 am |

          Ah, so many faulty tropes in one comment. Let’s see:

          1) Exactly when did I speak for “everyone” any more than you did? Please be specific.

          2) Who says I’m not concerned about where I get my Apple products? (Incidentally, I don’t own an iPad.)

          3) What do Apple products have to do with sports logos? One discussion is germane to this site; the other isn’t.

          4) For the sake of your faulty argument, let’s say I’m a big fat hypocrite. I say one thing and do another. I’m a fraud…. How exactly does that make the Redskins team name OK? In other words, you can indict the messenger all you want, but it doesn’t do a damn thing about the message. I suggest you try to argue your case on the merits, instead of slinging mud at me.

        • Gary | March 18, 2012 at 10:30 am |

          So Paul, because you are strongly opposed to using ..” cleansed culture’s imagery as marketing devices,” are there plans to remove advertisers from your blog site sell such imagery?

          Rather than poor mouth readers that have similarly strong, but opposite views on this issue, you might do your own critical thinking. Perhaps you then may appreciate what an invented issue this is.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 10:41 am |

          Which ads are you referring to, Gary? If you can bring them to my attention, I’ll see what I can do — seriously.

          But again: You’re trying to call me a hypocrite, which may or may not be true but has ZERO relevance to the merits of the discussion at hand. Even if you think I’m intellectually bankrupt, that doesn’t mean my position is. Try engaging with the actual issue instead of playing gotcha games with me.

        • Paul M. | March 18, 2012 at 10:48 am |

          1st, Paul…did any of my comments indicate that I was speaking for someone? No. I pointed out that all names can be viewed askew to being offensive in some manner, I pointed out that you easily made a typo and it too can be viewed as offensive (which you refused to acknowledge because I was right on that on you had no response, not even an “I’m sorry, typo…” excuse . I pointed out a plug that I thought as shameful, but you made a valid point “credit due”> I presented a counter-point that was from me directed at you and a machine you use in your lively hood that should be more concerned about in today’s world, but apparently are fine with no matter the source. And I have done all this with out profanity, typing in CAPS or demeaning you with a barrage of sarcastic remarks.

          In this discussion, you have not provided any positive exchange to those who hold an opinion different from you. So sit please, continue to sit on your ergonomic chair and forget that ideas and feelings come from all over…not just a sports writer from NYC who thinks he is never wrong, b/c the world already has 1 Mike Lupica too many.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 10:52 am |

          Fascinating barrage of innuendo and off-base assertion that adds nothing to the point at hand. When you’re ready to actually address the issue on the terms that everyone else is discussing, instead of constructing a straw-man cartoon of me to throw darts at, I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

        • Gary | March 18, 2012 at 10:52 am |

          The point is there is no actual issue. It’s an invented controversy without any merit.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 11:00 am |

          You have now made a relevant assertion but have provided no substantiation. Why is it “invented,” and by whom? Since lots of people here seem to feel the issue is noteworthy, how is it “not an actual issue”? It seems pretty “actual” on this site here today. If it has “no merit,” why not?

          In other words, how about if you actually debate the point on the merits instead of just saying, “This is stupid, it should go away”?

        • Gary | March 18, 2012 at 11:25 am |

          Your hubris is not persuasive. The invented controversy stems from the feckless views of a small minority of the Nation’s sports fans. I’m not certain how the Uni-Watch readership breaks down, but there appears to be strong views both ways, including several that see this as a non-issue.

        • Mike Oki | March 18, 2012 at 11:36 am |

          It has no merit because, again, the overwhelming majority of Natives do. not. care.

          Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, your sense of responsibility on this issue is guilt-driven. (My ancestors were shameful –> I’m soo privileged –> sooo much shame –> I feel bad about that –> I HAVE to do something about it!)

          I’m sure the courteous thing to do would be to not use the logos. I mean, it’s courteous, and courtesy will make them all feel better right? I guess. If they cared about something as trivial as a mascot, but they DO. NOT. CARE.

          We could go back & forth all day on this. You’ve got your opinion, I’ve got mine. We aren’t going to change each others minds, as is usually the case in online debates.

          Barons & Warriors. Shit.

        • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 11:38 am |

          “The invented controversy stems from the feckless views of a small minority of the Nation’s sports fans.”

          ~~~

          so, he who has all the gold makes the rules?

          minority voices should be silenced, simply because what you deem to be the majority don’t like to hear them?

          i can see that being the case in a lot of places, but i hope to god that NEVER happens in the USA…

          as better scribes than i have opined, “i may not agree with your opinion, but i’d fight to the death for your right to say it”

          you see it as a non-issue

          many don’t

          but even if just a small minority felt it an issue, you’d just as soon have their opinions silenced?

          no one speaks for everyone — not you, not me, not paul

          you are certainly entitled to your opinion here, and feel free to express it … but yours is one among many, and those who disagree with you will have their say, whether you like it or not

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

          Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, your sense of responsibility on this issue is guilt-driven. (My ancestors were shameful –> I’m soo privileged –> sooo much shame –> I feel bad about that –> I HAVE to do something about it!)

          You can disagree with me all you like, but you don’t get to speak for me. I do NOT feel guilty about the plight of Native Americans.

          I do, however, feel a strong sense of shared personal responsibility. You may feel the two terms are synonymous; they are not.

          If you feel no responsibility regarding the privileged status you have — a status that came about due to the sufferings of many, many victimized classes, Native Americans among them — that’s up to you. But don’t twist the English language, at least as it pertains to my state of mind, along the way.

          Meanwhile, regarding the train of thought you’ve spelled out (“My ancestors were shameful –> I’m soo privileged –> sooo much shame –> I feel bad about that –> I HAVE to do something about it!”), okay, fine, you’re mocking it. Why? What exactly is wrong with that train of thought? What exactly is wrong with feeling a sense of responsibility for acts committed by one’s country and wanting to make things better? Please be specific.

        • Flip | March 19, 2012 at 12:04 am |

          Quite late to the game today, but still feel compelled to chime in.

          This is a no-brainer, of course Cleveland’s and Washington’s mascots are offensive. Suggesting otherwise is just rationalization.

          What about Chiefs? Or Braves? I tend to think of those along the same line as Generals or the like. Tomahawk chops and cliched mascots make me wince, though. Employed as such, the names should be changed.

  • Ralph Shinners | March 18, 2012 at 9:34 am |

    As someone not as sympathetic to the Hecken’s side of these name-change debates, I think he made some compelling point. That being said here are some counter-arguments that occur to me:

    1) Existing names are entrenched. Yes, you would not start a new team perhaps with these names, but that’s simply not the same thing as saying you should change a name that is so established. Imagine yourself an Redskins’ executive or owner – changing the name would create an incredible distraction, very costly and the belly-aching would go on for years. Why take that on?

    2) Negative connotations have faded. At least for me, these names and images do not bring up negative racial connotations. To be honest I associate them more with the teams themselves “Oh, that’s the logo for the Washington NFL franchise, hey John Riggins, Joe Gibbs” etc.

    3) As someone whose team has undergone a name change (and the old name was in my opinion not as problematic as the ones discussed here), it’s incredibly annoying for a fan. I’ve always said that it feels like you were a kid and someone outside your family forces your parents to change the name of your dog.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:39 am |

      Existing names are entrenched. Yes, you would not start a new team perhaps with these names, but that’s simply not the same thing as saying you should change a name that is so established. Imagine yourself an Redskins’ executive or owner – changing the name would create an incredible distraction, very costly and the belly-aching would go on for years. Why take that on?

      Yeah, why bother doing the right thing if it’s an annoyance? And hey, if I say something is “entrenched,” that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Works for me!

      Negative connotations have faded.

      And one day — maybe — the negative connotations of “nigger” will fade. So then we can start using that as a team name, right?

      As someone whose team has undergone a name change (and the old name was in my opinion not as problematic as the ones discussed here), it’s incredibly annoying for a fan.

      I think the incredible sense of entitlement and privilege embodied in this statement speaks for itself.

      • Ralph Shinners | March 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm |

        Paul I think you’re just trying disparage my point of view by comparing it to those who use the N word.

        I come from an environment where racism is considered an unacceptable opinion; but I’m just saying I don’t have the same reaction with these NA mascots, sorry.

        When I said it’s an annoyance I was speaking here of the fans who don’t feel the NA names are bad or wrong; well to them it is quite an annoyance, and that is why you get the heated reaction every time this topic comes up.

    • Ryan B. | March 18, 2012 at 9:55 am |

      Existing names are entrenched. Yes, you would not start a new team perhaps with these names, but that’s simply not the same thing as saying you should change a name that is so established. Imagine yourself an Redskins’ executive or owner – changing the name would create an incredible distraction, very costly and the belly-aching would go on for years. Why take that on?

      You could add to the list of “things that were entrenched” the following: slavery, lack of women’s suffrage, and apartheid in South Africa.

      “Because we’ve always done it that way” is the worst reason in the world to continue doing something or to refuse to change it.

      • Ralph Shinners | March 18, 2012 at 10:06 am |

        But all injustices are not the same as far as importance or severity. Some of the ones you guys have mentioned (slavery) for example anyone would agree are many times more severe than the name of the Wash. NFL team. You would have to weight that against the cost.

        Like any fan I feel some sense of ownership of the team, and I do feel entitled to an opinion on it.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 10:12 am |

          It’s hard to imagine a greater testament to the inflated self-regard of the American sports fan than the previous statement.

        • Ryan B. | March 18, 2012 at 10:46 am |

          Like any fan I feel some sense of ownership of the team, and I do feel entitled to an opinion on it.

          You are entitled to an opinion on it. I’m just saying that I think your opinion is wrong.

          Would you stop rooting for your favorite team if the team name were changed? If you truly are a fan of the Washington Redskins, for example, would you totally abandon your support for the club if it chose to remove the offensive team name?

          Personally, I’d think my support for the club would grow, even.

          For the record, none of us truly have ownership of our team. What we own is the pride, support, and time we invest in supporting the team.

        • Kjseek | March 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm |

          Except for the Green Bay Packers that are owned by the people of Green Bay. They do have a corporate governing body but they are owned by the people. Just FYI, I dont think the Green Bay Packers enter into this conversation but just saying.

  • Steve-o | March 18, 2012 at 9:41 am |

    I have a feeling that the NFL cartel has found a way to protect the Redskins name over the years. If Danny Boy goes ahead with his Salary Cap suit, I wonder if the NFL will in turn stop protecting the Redskins and push for a new name and logo? Just a thought.

  • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 9:49 am |

    How do we feel about the Hawaiians?
    http://www.misterhab...

    • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 10:01 am |

      Probably shouldn’t leave Golden State off the list, either…
      http://www.apbr.org/...

  • rm2283 | March 18, 2012 at 10:16 am |

    How about instead of spending 100s of millions (because that’s what a total re-branding would cost) on renaming teams as a shallow gesture as a pathetic attempt to make amends, we focus our time and money on improving conditions on the reservations. I think that would be a much more real gesture, certainly both more meaningful and a better use of time and money than changing “Redskins” to “Potomacs”

    • Kjseek | March 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm |

      Ditto to you rm2283, im not saying renaming shouldn’t happen but helping the people would be a better way to honor them rather than a superficial change such as the name of a team

    • thomas paine - a little common sense | March 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

      Sorry, but this is way off base. A logo redesign may require front-end investment in creative design and research, and there may be lost investment on already-produced goods using the outgoing design. But this is nowhere near the revenue realized when a million units of merchandise move off the shelves. I have no source. Just common sense. If it was not eminently profitable to conduct a redesign, why would it be done by professional teams as frequently as it is? Even the venerable Yankees change their spring training and batting practice uniforms every few years. Who do you think they’re making those changes for? A-Rod and Derek Jeter? Or the cash registers at Foot Locker and MLBshop.com?

  • Oakville Endive | March 18, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    Holy Molly – 78 comments on a Sunday morning, you know things are heated.

    Re: the Detroit Cougars picture – great picture, but is it me, or do three of the players look like they could be easily surpassing Gordie Howe as the oldest player in the league, I mean it looks like the over 50 league.

    • Jet | March 18, 2012 at 10:57 am |

      Yes, I noticed that.

      And what I noticed more is that there are FIVE Cougars converging on the puck, with no players on the opposing team in the picture! No wonder the team didn’t last, with that kind of positional play!

      -Jet

    • Terry Proctor | March 18, 2012 at 11:33 am |

      The Bruins’ goaltender in the Beliveau shot is the late Bobby Perreault. After playing in the minors since the late 1940s he played a few games with Boston in 1962-63 before returning to the American Hockey League with Rochester. Bobby is tied with two other legendary American Hockey League netminders (Gil “The Needle” Mayer and Marcel Paille) to win a league-record (for goalies) four Calder Cup championships. He won in 1957-58 and 1958-59 with Hershey and in 1965-66 and 1967-68 with the Rochester Americans. He won 108 games for the Amerks during his six seasons with the team.

  • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 10:24 am |

    Bottom line?

    The resistance to changing all these names would involve a collective, “We were wrong; ethnically based team nicknames really wasn’t a very good idea, and was—we have to admit—originating from a certain Anglo-American smugness.”

    And, of course, it also would mean dropping that Anglo-American smugness.

    So, good luck with that. Unfortunately.

    • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 10:35 am |

      The resistance to changing all these names IS BECAUSE IT would involve a collective

      (fixed)

  • ThePonchat | March 18, 2012 at 10:30 am |

    I agree that there should be some changes. It is insensitive. But, if this was going to be a real “fight” for name changes of professional teams with demeaning names, then include several of the others that people have mentioned.

    No reason just to “pick on” JUST the Redskins or the Indians.

    While there should be a change, it won’t get done. The NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA just don’t do a good job “policing” what should be done. They can make a change IF they wanted to. They can put the incentives/disciplinary actions there for the name changes.

    I support name changes in many different aspects. I don’t like the fact that PETA was fighting for the Green Bay Packers to change their name because of the meat-packing past of the team name. Change them to something relevant and historic (if possible).

  • Richard | March 18, 2012 at 10:37 am |

    I think I’ve read all the comments thusfar, and I don’t think it’s been mentioned that re-naming these teams would be a marketing goldmine.

    The teams might see a brief downturn in attendance or TV numbers, but that would bounce right back, as it has done with college teams.

    But even if there’s a smaller fanbase, than fanbase will ‘need’ to go out and re-stock their closets. Wouldn’t Nike want to do this for the Washington NFL team?

    • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 10:49 am |

      Washington Ducks?

      • Jet | March 18, 2012 at 10:59 am |

        I’m going with

        Washington Crooks

        Washington Liars

        Washington Parasites

        etc

        -Jet

    • Ryan M. | March 18, 2012 at 10:54 am |

      No doubt. If the Indians changed to a new name, I would have fifty old caps to retire and start replacing.

      I would also be much happier if it were just sprung on us with no warning, like tearing off a band-aid. No debate, no discussion, just “from now on we’re called the Crooked Rivers. Problem solved.”. The last thing my fellow Indians fans need is an opportunity to make asses of ourselves trying to defend a name and identity that is beyond defense.

  • Eric | March 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |

    Maybe I’m being just a bit too cynical about this, but it seems to me that the easiest way to get these clubs to change their name is to point out all the new merchandise they could sell to their rabid fans with the new moniker.

    My apologies if that’s been said above.

    • Eric | March 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |

      Wouldn’t you know it…spent so much time trying to write it that the post above me said it…the perils of being anal retentive about words.

  • HHH | March 18, 2012 at 10:52 am |

    There is actually a song about the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians and how their names/logos are racist and offensive.

    It’s called “If You Own The Washington Redskins, You’re a Cock” and it’s by Atom and His Package.

    Take a listen, the lyrics are highly appropriate for today’s subject matter:

    http://www.youtube.c...

    If you can’t understand some of the words, here are the lyrics:

    I like sports
    There are some things I force myself to miss
    like I never met an athlete I like and hockey in Texas
    but when it comes to Native American nickname teams,
    even within the context of sports it’s awful and mean

    and you’ll go “Wah! Wah! Wah! You’re so PC!”
    and I will say, “Hey wait!
    My, my, my! How have the tables turned!
    To be a fucking prick is a desirable trait?”

    While we’re on the subject of changing team names
    there’s no jazz in Utah
    and few lakes in L.A.
    just this once give me the benefit of the doubt
    the Bullets became the Wizards. Too violent? Get out!
    and you’ll go “Wah! Wah! Wah! You’re so PC!”
    and I will say, “Hey wait!
    Remind me again how it came to be
    that being a stupid American is a desirable trait?”

    Wouldn’t it be offensive if we cheered,
    “‘Rah! Rah! Rah!’ for the Carolina Negroes
    with a beat box cheer and a big foam afro?”
    The Minnesota Vikings became the New York Kikes
    with dollar bills on their helmets
    ’cause that’s what they’re like ya know

    Atom, what about the Saints, Angels, Padres too?
    Ain’t that the same thing for Christians that’s offending you?
    When there’s a Jesus-Christ-mascot-dog-shooting-crucifix
    they nailed to a cross, dying to save the team
    you’ll be right, you’ll be right
    but until then
    you’re… not… right

    so

    What’s your take on Washington Redskins?
    What’s your take on the Cleveland Indians?
    What’s your take on Washington Redskins?
    What’s your take on the Cleveland Indians?

    • Anthony | March 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm |

      Awesome song.

  • Larry | March 18, 2012 at 11:00 am |

    A uni-centric hot button issue that is relevant because it reflects our true feelings about our community, our nation and ourselves. The uni-watch team (Mr. Lucas, Mr.Hecken, et al) has not dodged this issue but rather – made it known to all that there is something terribly wrong by profiting from slanderous naming standards.

  • Gregory Koch | March 18, 2012 at 11:07 am |

    The Washington Post’s Style Invitational humor contest ran a “rename-the-Redskins” contest for its first ever contest. The winner was “Baltimore Redskins – don’t rename the team, just make it Baltimore’s problem”.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |

      LOL — comment of the day for sure.

      I have to run, which I’m sure will be a great relief to everyone. Thanks for the stimulating discussion, gang, and thanks to Phil for getting the ball rolling.

  • Graf Zeppelin | March 18, 2012 at 11:14 am |

    OK, if I could just chime in and try to correct a bit of ubiquitous historical apocrypha…

    The proper linguistic designation for the indigenous persons of the North and South American continents is “American Indians,” not “Native Americans,” although both are widely used and accepted. The idea that the word “Indian” is derived from a mistaken belief that the Western continent and/or islands were actually India is apocryphal.

    First of all, it’s important to remember that Christopher Columbus was Italian, and his voyage to the New World was taken on behalf of the queen of Spain. Hence he and his crews would have spoken Italian and Spanish, not English; “India” is the English name for the modern country. Moreover, India was not even called India in most of Europe in 1492; it was called Hindustan (or, Bharata).

    It’s far more likely that the word “indian” in this context comes from the Latin indigen, meaning native or original inhabitant, and is the root of the modern English word indigenous. “American Indian” therefore means, quite literally, “native or original inhabitant of the American continent.”

    (I’ve also read that Columbus, who was Italian and spoke poor Spanish, described the people he found to Queen Isabella or her surrogates as “in dios,” or “in G-d,” meaning “G-d’s people”, and that “indian” comes from that.)

  • Ken | March 18, 2012 at 11:19 am |

    “VIk” means “bay” in some of the Scandinavian languages, e.g. Reykjavik, Iceland and Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. Or even Jesper Parnevik.

    VIkings therefore are people who come from the bay. So the Packers and Bucs should change their names to Vikings.

    For a truly odd example of an offensive, and entirely bizarre, name, check out the Västra Frölunda Indians of the Swedish Elitserien. http://www.frolundai...

    And that’s from good ol’ neutral Sweden!

    The substantive arguments have been sufficiently made, so I’ll just add my opinion that the renaming choices submitted for Cleveland and Washington are uninspiring. Surely we can do better. As once commenter suggested, Cleveland Stevedores would be pretty cool. As for Washington, bring back the Diplomats monicker.

  • Taylor Rusk | March 18, 2012 at 11:25 am |

    I’m not sure I want to wade into this, because it’s become more political than uni-related, but I will. Now as someone who is a white guy, I do a lot of speaking on behalf of diversity for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. I believe that the misogynistic comments from some of the more bloated talking heads in recent weeks around women and their bodies, from contraception to pregnancy, are absolutely pathetic. And I’m sick to death of the “black or white” and “absolutes” mandate that we all seemingly must have regarding hot-button social & political issues. All of these issues deal in varying degrees of complexity, but complexity just the same. You can be both anti-abortion and pro-choice; you can pro-military and anti-war, you can criticize America and still love America, and, dare I say….you can agree with mostly rational arguments Phil and Paul are making, and still vote against changing mascots.

    Someone above mentioned “where does it stop”, and Paul responded with “where does it start”. My question is this – “who should decide?”. Let’s first figure out who should decide, and who should have a vote in the matter in the first place. I do not believe that Phil or Paul, either one, can arbitrarily sit on the message boards and say we should change the mascots for Cleveland, Washington, and North Dakota…but not Kansas City because that’s not the intent. If you’re going to do this, you cannot legislate intent. If Franciscan Monks are offended that “Padres” is being used as a mascot to strike fear into opponents, well, is that next? And who are you to decide? I’m half-Irish, and if you look back at the treatment of the Irish immigrants in America, it’s not great…so maybe we change Iona (Irish On North Avenue) College’s name (and Mascot – Gaels, which is short for Gaelic, a reference to the Isle of Man, Scottish and Irish people)….

    The point is this – minus some sort of seismic intelligence proving otherwise, Paul and Phil are not the people who should, or will, be making the decisions on what mascots should even consider, much less enact a name change. It’s not their call. They can disagree with the name, disagree with the brand, etc., but they are not the legislating body for this discussion, no matter how much they seem to believe they are.

    Moving forward, if change should be enacted, it needs to start first in the Dept. of The Interior, with the Bureau of Indian Affairs meeting with the national leadership of the leading (and impacted) Tribal Councils; from there, if there’s a next step, it should involve meeting directly – and discretely (at first) – with the various league commissioners and team owners. The same approach should be followed for those offended by any other school or team, from ethnic origins to maybe those team names with military mascots, especially if some of the mascots refer to era-specific atrocities against ethnicities, religions, governments, or similar.

    • ThePonchat | March 18, 2012 at 11:52 am |

      While it’s not Paul or Phil who will be making the ultimate change…there’s nothing wrong with stirring up discussion and “pushing” for a change.

      Social activism at its finest. That’s how everything seems to get started. Civil rights. Women’s suffrage. Abolishing of slavery. Someone or someones were responsible for starting that. It’s not the governing bodies that start this discussion — typically.

      Without William Wilberforce, we wouldn’t have Wilberforce University or their Bulldogs athletic teams. We wouldn’t have activists like MLK Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Benjamin Rush, or Harriet Tubman.

      I shouldn’t really even reference the latest social activist efforts of Invisible Children and the #Kony2012 movement, but without movements like that…then MANY things would not have been accomplished. Fight for a cause.

    • Tim | March 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

      I have to disagree with you. There is something fundamentally different about ‘Redskins’ or ‘Indians’ than there is about ‘Padres’ or some other such example. The history is a major part of the problem. First, there is the history of the use of ‘redskin’ as a word– it has a derogatory meaning. That in of itself is grounds for advocating a name change. There is also the history of persecution, subjugation, and general malice towards American Indians. These names that refer to this past– and in doing so, show a continued lack of respect, should be changed.

      Paul is not ‘legislating’ change form the comments by any stretch of the imagination– no one is. It is not just the responsibility of the Department of the Interior to facilitate a name change (or decide that there is offense or not), it is the responsibility of everyone to advocate for change where they see injustice– to facilitate discussion and encourage greater respect for persecuted minorities, etc. This is about facilitating discussion and ideas and expressing opinion– not about forcing others to do what they want! Anyone and everyone should be able to say “this is offensive and disrespectful and I thin we should change it.” And, additionally, this is not a ‘legislative’ issue– the Government has nothing to do with running MLB or the NFL, they are private corporations, so I just don’t get your point at all.

      • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm |

        “There is something fundamentally different about ‘Redskins’ or ‘Indians’ than there is about ‘Padres’ or some other such example. The history is a major part of the problem. First, there is the history of the use of ‘redskin’ as a word– it has a derogatory meaning. That in of itself is grounds for advocating a name change.”

        ~~~

        thank you Tim — that’s really all i was trying to say, only you did it better and more eloquently in under 100 words than i did in 1,800

        cheers

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

      I do not believe that Phil or Paul, either one, can arbitrarily sit on the message boards and say we should change the mascots….

      Let me get this straight: I, who run this web site, and Phil, who is my assistant, should have no say regarding what gets said on this web site?

      I see.

      • Taylor Rusk | March 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

        Get off your high defensive horse. You can say whatever you want on your website; you cannot arbitrarily decide who changes what mascot and who does not – those are not your decisions to make. Do you own the teams? Are you the commissioner of the leagues?

        No?

        I see.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

          Are you the commissioner of the leagues?

          Not last I checked. But you’re making a straw-man argument — nobody here is claiming the power to make anyone do anything. We’re engaging in a discussion, we’re saying what we’d *like* to see happen. That’s how discussions work — you take a point of view and advocate for it.

          Imagine your line of argument in, say, 1960:

          Me: “I think Jim Crow laws should be abolished.”

          You: “Oh yeah? Since when were you a Congressman?”

          =======

          See how that works?

          Also: You’re playing very fast and loose with the word “arbitrary.” There’s nothing arbitrary about my line of thought regarding these issues. I’ve thought long and hard about all of it.

        • Taylor Rusk | March 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

          I think you’re drawing a lot of extreme examples. To me, there’s a huge difference in Jim Crow laws, the atrocities in The Sudan, Rwanda, etc., Brown v. Board of Education, etc. and the mascots of college and professional sports teams. While the “movement to change” philosophy you advocate for (and I don’t disagree with it, at all) shares similar traits of social consciences and critical mass to influence change, to even attempt to equate the impact of changing the Redskins name to the impact of abolishing Jim Crow Laws or the like is ridiculous.

          Additionally, you should take your definition of discussions – you take a point of view and advocate for it – and read your responses. Sorry Paul, but your definition of debate conflicts with your responses, which have been primarily to point fingers at others’ responses. It’s a common tactic of the “I’m always right, no matter what, and you’ll always be wrong for disagreeing with me mentality” that is so prevalent, unfortunately, in today’s very polarized political pundit climate.

        • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

          You’re changing the terms of the discussion. First you were accusing me and Phil of claiming the power to make things happen, as if we were the commissioners of the leagues. As I pointed out, we are claiming no such power. And I wasn’t equating Jim Crow laws with the Redskins’ team name; I was equating *whether Phil and I can discuss* these issues with *whether it would have been okay to discuss* Jim Crow in 1960. You had suggested that we had no right to be raising this discussion; I’m maintaining that we do, because any discussion of any point of public policy is fine, whether it’s Jim Crow or a team name.

          Now you’re shifting and saying you don’t like the tone of my arguments. It’s true that I have little patience for straw-man arguments, apples/oranges comparisons, or arguments based on faulty logic (like, say, the Jim Crow mistake you made above), esp. when the same ones come up again and again. I will always take issue with those things, because (a) they distract from the main discussion and hand, and (b) I don’t like to have poorly reasoned arguments on my web site. That impatience sometimes leads to a harsh-sounding tone. But what you’re basically saying is, “Paul, you sound like a dick.” Okay, fine, let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I’m a dick. That doesn’t mean my position is wrong, or that you’ve made any headway in a counter-argument.

          Instead of saying you don’t like me, how about trying to take issue with the argument I’m making (i.e., that we have no right to be using Native American imagery)? Anything else is just avoiding the issue.

        • Taylor Rusk | March 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

          Wow, now you’re playing the victim? I disagreed with your approach to changing the names, and still do. You disagree with certain names, but don’t with others. Fine, it’s your blog. I was just a loyal reader. It’s not my fault that your argument – as I pointed out – has holes in it because of the selective criteria used to decide which names to change. I didn’t say I disagreed with the premise, but I do with SOME of your “logic” regarding it. Your intelligence, which is strong, is exceeded only by your ego, which is immense. You’ve twice pointed to my “tone” and how I’m changing the terms of the discussion. I’m not; it’s your blog. You initiated the “discussion” – but it’s apparent that opinions that you don’t like are subject to your ridicule, no matter how accurate they may be or how inaccurate you may be on certain points.

          So let me be perfectly clear: While you may not agree with the nicknames, it’s NOT YOUR FUCKING DECISION on whether or not to change them. I have no problem if the names are changed; but guess what? It’s not my decision, either. And I doubt the owners give a damn what I think, and doubt they care what you think, either. The entire point of my post wasn’t to agree or disagree with the right or wrong of the nicknames per se; it was to address the question you’ve avoided addressing – which is to address the burden of responsibility for making such a change. You can bitch and moan all day long about the problem, but if you’re not looking for a solution, are you solving the problem?

          You can shift positions, cry and play the victim, call me names, put words in my mouth, etc., even take your ball and go home. I don’t care. But you’ve initiated discussion on a very elastic topic, and you should expect a reaction equal and opposite to your own. Your “position” is your opinion, period. What I’m taking issue with is what YOU consider to be offensive, and what YOU don’t consider to be offensive – in other words, who decides what’s offensive and what’s not? Guess what, I live in OKC now (and politically, am not a fit here, for the record)…and I consider the term “Okie” to be incredibly offensive, but if you don’t, I guess I’m wrong, correct? I realize the irony in telling an agnostic to lose the holier-than-thou attitude, but no matter your intent – that’s how you’re coming off. Oldest rule of them – the client’s perception is your reality.

        • Jonee | March 18, 2012 at 7:43 pm |

          I have to side with Paul in this. You continually seem to be missing the point. But, anyway, as fans of these teams, it is our decision. If enough people are opposed to these nicknames and mascots, the owners and leagues will listen. They have a right to be racist and we have a right, nay, an obligation, to protest.

        • Taylor Rusk | March 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm |

          Jonee, I’m not missing the point, not at all. If you think you’ve got the power to change the name of any team, have at it. I’m watching.

          Personally, I’m EXTREMELY offended by Phil’s continual n-bomb usage, and I’m dead serious. Using the term continuously to make a point doesn’t make it acceptable.

    • Komet17 | March 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

      Taylor, not to be argumentative, but as a lifelong San Diego baseball fan, I can confidently assert that the Padres have rarely, if ever, struck fear into their opponents…

      • Taylor Rusk | March 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm |

        I’m a Brewer fan, Komet – and I completely understand where you’re coming from….I understand your point. Great post!

        • Cody | March 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

          TAylor, how can you be offended at Phil using nigger in context, but not be ffended that a team uses a racial epithet as a name?

  • George Chilvers | March 18, 2012 at 11:30 am |

    I saw that there were 113 comments and feared I’d got some of the colours wrong in a colourisation ;)

    • Gary | March 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm |

      Hold on, give us time and we’ll figure out how this can be justifiably blamed on the Brits.

      • George Chilvers | March 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm |

        I’m sorry but you’ll have to get to the back of the queue. There’s a whole world out there that blames us for something or other – you’ll be seen as soon as we can. Just take a ticket with a number please, and wait your turn.

  • Kevin Wright | March 18, 2012 at 11:37 am |

    I am curious why the obvious name of “Washington Generals” was left off. As the Washington football team has been playing since Dan Snyder bought the team, that name would seem so much more appropriate than the any of the ones chosen for inclusion in the poll.

    • The Jeff | March 18, 2012 at 11:40 am |

      Because the Washington Generals have achieved an iconic status as “that team that always gets abused by the Globetrotters”, so it’s off-limits for any other Washington team to use.

  • Tim | March 18, 2012 at 11:51 am |

    For the Indians, What about a team name that is a throwback to Baseball History?

    There are a number of team names that have disappeared, and MLB is due for a team named for a Negro League team– a way of recognizing a dark racial history with respect and honor. The Grays or Buckeyes (name if brief Cleveland team)or maybe Crawfords (though I’m sure Cleveland would have issue with taking a Pittsburgh team name) could be good ways of honoring the negro leagues and their players. What do others think about using a Negro League name?

    There are also some old MLB names, like Pilots or Browns (though that one is obviously not a possibility) that might work.

    • Komet17 | March 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

      Tim, I like this idea, especially since Cleveland had the first AL African-American player (Larry Doby).

  • Chris Mehler | March 18, 2012 at 11:53 am |

    I’ve never understood the call to remove the imagery of the Redskins. What is offensive about a feather, spear, actual bust of an American Indian? Did they not use these? Even using them in some instances today? Say what you will about the nickname “Redskins”, although Natives even called themselves this for many a years. I don’t really understand how using these “symbols” of a culture is offensive. Many people have ancestors from Ireland, “Nordic” countries, Italy and Greece and yet would they take offense to any Viking, Roman, Greek, Trojan and/or Spartan imageries? I would be proud of my history. Just as if I had Indian blood in me (and I might, I don’t fully know as I was adopted) I would be proud of my Indian heritage. The names Braves, Warriors, etc. are offensive? You should now be ashamed for being “brave”? And where does it stop? How would you be offended by the name “Seminoles” and them representing your tribe/heritage?

    Look, we can all show examples of what is racist/offensive, whatever, but I really don’t understand when people like to say that any mention of a people’s past is offensive.

  • sitruc | March 18, 2012 at 11:59 am |

    Where is the option for “other”?

    Also, Monuments is a name that is often brought up for a re-branded Wizards. Monumental Sports is the ownership group that owns the Caps, Wizards, and Mystics as well as the Verizon Center and Patriot Center(on the campus of George Mason).

    • Anthony | March 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

      I always liked “Monuments” for a Washington team. When the Expos moved to Washington, I thought “Monuments” should’ve been their name.

  • KF | March 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm |

    I think the Redskins should just change their logo to an illustration of a redskin potato with a helmet on. Better check with the potato farmers first though…

  • Jerry | March 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm |

    The modern Indian populace generally enjoy the fact that athletic teams in college and the pro level use team names that recall their heritage. I have not noticed large numbers (or any) protests at sporting events protesting the use of these names.
    Let it go.
    People who see racism at every turn are often the true bigots.

  • CrazyAnna | March 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm |

    Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians are fine just the way they are.

    • Anthony | March 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm |

      So are the New York Kikes and San Francisco Chinamen!

  • Hodges14 | March 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

    Benches shirt: As MotherSunBowlVilker would say: I’d wear that. Although I’d go for a Bub’s Pub Shirsey first.

    • Jim Vilk | March 19, 2012 at 12:15 am |

      Yes, a shirsey would be good, too.

  • Mark | March 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

    The choices in the Rename-the-Indians/Redskins are too limiting, at least for Cleveland. I for one would prefer “Cleveland Buckeyes”, or perhaps something more environmental, like the “Cleveland Herons” (there are lot of blue herons up there along the cleaned-up and scenic Cuyahoga, for example). How about allowing fan suggestions (surely mine are also narrow).

  • Jeff Hunter | March 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

    A little SELECTIVE in our indignation aren’t we? Indians, Braves, Chiefs, etc…oh how terrible, but until I hear one of you do-good PC spouters get on your holier-the-thou horse about the FIGNTING IRISH, I’ll continue to think this is all crap.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

      This is a gotcha argument that has no bearing on the matter at hand. If you like, sure, we can debate the Fighting Irish (if you scroll upward, you’ll see that many people already have). But either way, why should that keep you from actually engaging with the point being addressed — i.e., the appropriateness of using Native American names/imagery for sports teams?

      Instead of looking for a way to avoid the argument, why not actually deal with the argument?

      • Jeff Hunter | March 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

        I will address the point….I have NO problem with the names, none at all.

  • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

    Thanks again to the colorizers. They don’t always get the thanks they deserve. Just keep them coming.

    • Gary | March 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

      Welcome.

    • George Chilvers | March 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

      Cheers Larry. We try our best :)

  • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm |

    Obviously there are many here against the nicknames for some teams. I do not think the names are meant or intended to offend groups. So I see little problem with them, If the intention was to be derogatory that is different.

    The Indian logo is a caricature. It is a logo. I realize some native Americans are offended by the look.

    I grew up a Pirate fan because my dad was a Pirate fan. being from the Youngstown Ohio area, I pull for both the Pirates and Indians.

    Is the Pirate name or logo offensive?

    Obviously with all the comments today this is a touchy subject for some.

    • ThePonchat | March 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

      I think that Youngstown State is offensive…there are no penguins that are native to Ohio! :)

      • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

        Good one.

        I am a Youngstown State grad. Supposedly that nickname came from a basketball game long ago. The players in a cold gym were trying to get warm and looked like Penguins from their movements.

        • ThePonchat | March 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

          Yeah, my former guidance counselor is a YSU grad. As is a couple of my cousins. I know the “history” to it…if it’s true or not, I do not know. I just wanted to get that jab in because I have always thought it is a ridiculous nickname.

          But, it can be lumped in there with the Polar Bears of Ohio Northern. And any other Tiger or Lion mascot in the midwest… :)

    • Anthony | March 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

      I didn’t realize that Pirates were a race of people…

      • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

        some would question whether they’re even a major league team

        • Chris Mehler | March 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

          HAHAHA! Of course, I shouldn’t be laughing. As a Cubs fan, my team is now 0-103 and counting.

  • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm |

    one more thing (oh, sure…)

    all those who are against changing the name “Redskin” because you don’t feel it is offensive…

    do me one favor — substitute “wop,” “kike,” “chink” or “nigger” for “redskin” and then tell me you don’t think it’s offensive

    if you still don’t, then there is really no point in my trying to convince you otherwise

    ~~~

    and this has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the players, cities or even current owners (although they do have the power to change the names) … it’s about common, simple decency

    you don’t use a derogatory term for ANY group as the nickname for a sporting club

    logos are a different matter, entirely, im simply speaking of the vile and racist term “redskin”

    and please don’t come back and say “well, there are some native americans who don’t mind (or even use) the term” … yes, there are also plenty of people of color who use the term “nigger/nigga” but that surely doesn’t give anyone the right to call a team by that name

    • ThePonchat | March 18, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

      This reminded me of the Southern Miss band chants toward the Latino player from Kansas State…

      It is certainly offensive to chant, “Where’s your green card?” to immigrants.

      I find it hard to believe that some don’t find these nicknames/mascots as insensitive or derogatory. All I needed to see was the caricature of a black person linked above with the oversized lips — a powerful clip from “Freedom Writers” presents the same argument.

    • Kelly | March 19, 2012 at 11:40 am |

      ‘Redskin’ is not the moral equivalent of ‘nigger’. It’s preposterous to assert that. ‘Redskin’ is only the equivalent of ‘nigger’ in the sense that ‘honkey’ is the equivalent of ‘nigger’. No one calls an indian a redskin (at least not anymore), but you just ask a black person if he’s ever been called ‘nigger’? It happens and that’s a weightier word than any in the english language. Go on arguing that we should all be horrified at the use of Redskins as a team name and mascot, but the fact is, we aren’t. But for a few activists, life goes on and no one cares.

  • HHH | March 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

    How come “Pigskins” wasn’t among the voting options? I think this is a really clever name. All NFL fans know the Redskins’ nickname for their offensive line is the Hogs, plus it retains “skins” in the name (which is the nickname for the entire team), PLUS PLUS “pigskin” is a slang term for a football.

    Therefore I think Washington Pigskins would be the perfect name! Fans could still refer to them as the ‘Skins!

    • a starlit carillon | March 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm |

      Are you “for” them?

      Washington Foreskins!

      • HHH | March 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

        LOL that’s great!!!

  • Chase | March 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

    My question for Paul and Phil is whether you think the Florida State Seminole and Utah Ute names and imagery should be abolished. These two schools have more than just approval from the tribes. It’s often been reported in Utah that the Ute tribe would be offended if they did change the name or logo.

    It’s not derogatory to them; it’s historical. How many would even know the Seminole and Ute tribes existed if not for the college teams that honor them?

    The only ones I’ve ever known to be offended by the Ute name and imagery live in Palo Alto and Berkley.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm |

      I can’t speak for Phil. Personally, I do agree that if a specific tribal team name has the blessing of the tribe in question, that’s different.

      I’d like to see the teams/schools/etc. pay a royalty or licensing fee to the tribe for the use of the name, however.

      • Chase | March 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

        I don’t know about royalties, but I do know that the university consults the Ute tribal council for their approval on a lot of these issues.

        Also of note: before 1972, the Utes were often called the Redskins.

    • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

      to the extent that these are slightly different arguments (“redskins” being racist, and “indians” referring to an entire group, with, at best a tasteless logo), i would think that might be “OK” — in the case of the seminoles, i would hope they be fairly compensated (monetarily, scholarships, perhaps use of the facilities, etc.); same with the utes)

      look, there are place names throughout the USA named after the tribes who originally settled there — no one is arguing all native american names should be abolished — and if the ute and seminole nations as a whole are fairly compensated for others appropriating their name and imagery, and have given it their blessing, then i’m OK with that

      but to my mind, these are two distinct (albeit related) issues

      im not seeking to have all native names eliminated nor should native peoples imagery only be considered detrimental — to the contrary, i wish there was more understanding of the history of the peoples who populated the states before the europeans (and later, other continents)

      if the utes and the seminoles have an arrangement with utah and florida state, that’s really a different argument entirely

      • Chase | March 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm |

        It was the imagery specifically that I was asking about. Some of the earlier comments made it sound like you felt that using things like spears, feathers, etc. were inappropriate. I wanted to know if you applied it here as well.

        Also, I did some research, and for the record, the U of U does provide many scholarships to Ute tribe members.

        Also for the record, I can’t believe I’m defending the Utah Utes in anything. I feel so dirty….

  • SQL | March 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

    Being european I guess I’m being less sensitive to this particular subject than most around here. But heres, my take on the subject anyway :

    What I see in this matter is that many of the teams using american indian imagery do so in a way that reinforces the positive stereotypes associated with these people (see braves, chiefs…) and even though I know what Paul will tell me back about sterotypes, I can’t see that as a disparaging move. If you consider it is, then all other team names using ethnicity as a whole must be changed (starting with the Fighting Irish).

    On the other hand, I agree that both Redskins and Indians don’t belong in that category. There isn’t a thing in their names or imagery that pays tribute to the native tribes and their heritage. Even more so, when you think about it, the whole Cleveland uniform and colour scheme couldn’t be more remote from a native american feeling and the team’s identity amount to nothing more, in my eyes, than a commercial choice.

    In the end, I think that the only people who should settle the matter are the tribes whose names and iconography are used by sports team. They should absolutely have their say in the right for anybody to use their identity (Nobody would even think about naming their team the Oregon Nikes without consulting with the same name company first)and they also should get rewarded (read paid) for its use.
    Maybe if Daniel Snyder had to shell out half of what the Redskins merchandising is putting into his bank account to pay the relevant Native american autorithy for the use of the name, he’d be a little more sensitive to the subject.

    And yes I know it will sound to many as ‘corporate whoring’ but there’s no telling that the decisions to change these teams names will be made first and foremost from a business point of view, so money’s the real target here…

  • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    I always dvr the CBS Sunday morning news. I am watching part of it now since the NCAA game is halftime.

    They have a segment about video games and art. They talked about Pacman and then went to Mario brothers. Mario and Luigi.

    How offended are Italians by this? By the way I am half Italian and half Slovak

    I know they are not using an Italian name for the series. It definitely is an ethnic slant. How about the characters??? Who finds them offensive.

    • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

      Larry, keep in mind that the issue here isn’t just ethnic stereotyping; it’s about using images/names of a victimized class of people who were nearly exterminated from the continent in a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing. Big difference.

      I’m not saying the video game names are OK, or not OK; I’m saying that you’re making a bit of an apples/oranges comparison.

      • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

        I understand both sides Paul. And there is a good point against the names. So I am not totally against what you are saying.

        • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm |

          In the course of history man has done a lot of things through wars, expansion and such. How about mans hunting and killing of species such as tigers. Or I saw a show about what was done to sharks for shark fin soup.

          I know those are not humans but what man has done to them has drastically reduced the numbers.

    • ThePonchat | March 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm |

      Well, the video game series involving “Mario” isn’t even Italian. It was created in Japan and was originated from people/characters that the creators knew.

      • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

        Are you telling us that Mario and Luigi are not supposed to be Italian characters???

        mama mia

        • ThePonchat | March 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

          :)

          What are we supposed to do now? I always thought they were supposed to be eating pizza or spaghetti?!

          I just don’t get the reference to Super Mario and the “insensitivity” toward Italians when it had nothing to do with Italians.

        • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

          I said I was watching CBS Sunday morning news. Mario brothers is indeed using Italian characters. Fat little mustachioed characters. It has to do with ethnic groups.

  • Kyle Allebach | March 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm |

    I understand the idea on why the names of the Redskins and the Indians should be changed. I’m not going to really argue against that, aside from the typical “But we like the team names”. But there was a, IMO, legitimate question raise earlier about when will this stop.

    I mean, look at it this way. If the Indians and Redskins names were changed in real life, as many feel they should, then you get all of the college and high school level schools whom have adopted this native American idenity (a la my own high school, the Methacton Warriors). Aside from the level of resistance you would get (people around here would either flip or just wouldn’t give a crap), it’s entirely justified along side the changes of Washington and Cleveland.

    At risk of sounding douchey, what other groups of people would gain momentum at their cause for changing what offends them? Would the Boston Celtics or Notre Dame Fighting Irish offend the same group of people who are offended with the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirts? Would people get offended at the notion of the Dallas Cowboys, implying everyone in Texas is a Cowboy? What about a team like the Gamecocks? I mean, you get signs like this.

    It’s a stupid question, but we know there are groups of people who take a good thing and take it too far. Also, everybody was commenting and I felt like so too.

    • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

      There are plenty of high schools across America who use those names and logos of Indians or Warriors. So yes where would it stop?

      As I said I understand both sides. But I think the names are just nicknames used for sports teams.

      Chief Wahoo is a drawing. A cartoon.

    • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

      “I mean, you get signs like this.”

      ~~~

      what sign?

      • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

        What the fuck is that Colonel Sanders looking thing in that image? (to the right of the COCKS)

  • Graf Zeppelin | March 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm |

    Here’s another take on this issue, for anyone interested:

    Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo, 284 F. Supp. 2d 96 (D.D.C. 2003).

    In 1992, a group of American Indians petitioned the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel six trademarks held by Pro-Football, Inc. (corporate name of the Washington Redskins football club). See Harjo v. Pro Football, Inc., 30 U.S.P.Q.2d 1828 (Trademark Tr. & App. Bd.1994). The TTAB granted the petition, and the team filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of D.C. to have the decision overturned. The District Court overturned the petition on two grounds: (1) that the petition should have been denied on the grounds of laches [unreasonable delay], and more importantly for our discussion, (2) that “[t]here [was] no evidence in the record that addresses whether the use of the term ‘redskin(s)’ in the context of a football team and related entertainment services would be viewed by a substantial composite of Native Americans, in the relevant time frame, as disparaging.” Id. at 144.

    The case was subjected to a few subsequent decisions on the laches issue that don’t really shed any further light on disparagement issue [see 415 F.3d 44 (D.C. Cir. 2005); on remand at 567 F. Supp. 2d 46 (D.D.C 2008); 565 F.3d 880 (D.C. Cir. 2009); cert. denied 130 S. Ct. 631 (2009).

  • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm |

    Vilk was rooting against my Hoosiers twice? Fore shame, Mother Vilker, for shame.

    • Jim Vilk | March 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

      Wow, someone read the list…

      Sorry, Tim. For various reasons, IU, OSU, Duke and Georgetown would be my final four of infamy. But at least they all look good.

      • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm |

        Come on, we’re the feel good story of the year! :)

        • Jim Vilk | March 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm |

          I was hoping Lehigh would be the feel-good story of the year, but it appears reality and Xavier have caught up to them.

  • SQL | March 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm |

    And what about the Seahawks or Canucks using Northwestern tribal art for their logos, is it more acceptable since their name has nothing to do with the native amricans ?
    Would the chiefs or braves logo suddenley become OK if their names were changed to archers and axemen ?

    • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

      The use of Pacific Northwest Indian artistic motifs is also perfectly valid as a display of regional identity. It’s similar to the original logo and uniform designs of the Phoenix Coyotes, who used design motifs from the Southwest, including rendering the coyote as a kachina figurine.

      • SQL | March 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

        Well, somme could argue that it’s too bad most of the people who created the regional identity in the first place had to be wiped out so their lovely pictures could be used to adorn football helmets…
        I know i’m pushing the envelope here but I don’t see how borrowing a visual identity is allright when the use of a name as generic as brave or chief is not.

        • DJ | March 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

          It’s not that you’re pushing the envelope, you’re not making sense. Look at the Euro 2012 identity, which uses the traditional flower designs of paper cutting (“Wycinanki” in Polish, “Vytynanky” in Ukranian). Or the African forms for the 2010 World Cup.

          Using art forms, patterns, colors, etc. is a completely different issue than the offensiveness of named such as “Redskins.”

        • Jonee | March 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm |

          The people using those symbols in Poland, the Ukraine and Africa are part of those particular cultures, while here we’re borrowing images from a culture we vanquished.

  • Tenz | March 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm |

    Just got to voice one more opinion. I don’t regard these names or emblems as offensive, and rather view them as having a rich history that is overwhelmingly a positive for the group involved (a group that, I certainly acknowledge, has a great many grievances that ought to be addressed). I think the Indians Chief Wahoo symbol is, in fact, one of the better ones in sports. I won’t object if the teams ever change their names but I will understand that some of their fans will have lost something important to them that can’t be replaced.

  • Attila Szendrodi | March 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

    I don’t find either name offensive but then again, I’m secure enough that I don’t find ANYTHING offensive. They could be called the “Washington We all fucked Attila Szendrodi’s mom in every orifice’s” and I wouldn’t give two shits. They’re just words. Words that human beings created. They don’t ACTUALLY carry any weight because they’re not real.

    • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

      “They could be called the “Washington We all fucked Attila Szendrodi’s mom in every orifice’s” and I wouldn’t give two shits”

      ~~~

      ah, so because you’re cool with it, then i guess we all are or should be

      because, after all, it’s all about you

      i suppose if i were cool with calling the team the “Washington Hitlers” with an oven for a logo, everyone else should be as well

      gotcha

      • SQL | March 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

        Is it me or did Phil just scored a Godwin point ?

        • Attila Szendrodi | March 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

          So it seems.

        • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

          i was going to use stalin, but i figured, why not just go there instead

          the point isn’t about WHAT the name is, though — i was using hitler for effect — the point is that names ARE important and DO matter … to say “it’s all just words” is really the essence of the matter

          arguing that a term isn’t derogatory or hurtful because it is “just” a word is something i should probably not have responded to or taken the bait

          well played, though, pascal, well played

        • Attila Szendrodi | March 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm |

          No bait intended. I’m sorry if that’s how you interpreted it.

      • Attila Szendrodi | March 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm |

        “ah, so because you’re cool with it, then i guess we all are or should be”

        No, sir. I was simply giving my thoughts on the subject. If there was a team called the Washington Hitlers and an oven logo I would LOL at it.

        That being said, with all the hoopla over name changing how the hell does a New York baseball team get away with being called the “Yankees”? As someone FROM New York I find it to be offensive and derogatory towards people of Northern heritage. I’ve been fighting that one for years! I spent 11 years living in the South and, to them, they used it as an insulting term towards said people.

        • Attila Szendrodi | March 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

          I remember in high school there was a ton of racial tension and the principal said during an assembly that anyone using the term “Nigger, redneck, honky, cracker, or hillbilly would be suspended immediately”. So wait, they could call me “Yankee” all day to try and insult me but I couldn’t call them “Redneck” back?

  • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm |

    As for the colorizing. I asked John T about the filter he was using for some of the past photos. Alien Skin exposure. Way to expensive for me. But I have been messing with the trial version and have a blast with it. It is a cool tool to use especially for colorized pics. I have tried it with some family ones too both color and black and white.

    Used a a plugin for Adobe Photoshop.

  • Brendan Burke | March 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm |

    Maybe we can do the Chiefs and Braves next.

  • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm |

    I knew of this record. But still just looking at it is fascinating.

    The Spiders finish with an embarrassing 20-134 record, which still remains the worst in baseball history.

  • JAson | March 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

    Phil-

    Thanks for using my idea! I’m excited to see actual designs once the heated debates die down.

    And for what it’s worth, since Cleveland Buckeyes wasn’t a choice, I went with Cleveland Municipals. I loved that big ugly stadium and would like to see what people could come up with logo-wise.

    • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm |

      Thanks man, I came up with Municipals.

  • jeff Bernstein | March 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm |

    I am a Redskins fan. I voted for Redhawks, but it is worth noting that at one point Snyder trademarked Washington Warriors for an AFL team. I do not know if the trademark is still valid. I am surprised that Snyder has not changed the name, considering how much money he could make, but remember he is a Redskins fan from childhood.

  • Mike Engle | March 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm |

    Oh come on, nobody nominated “Cleveland Steamers?”

    • Jeremiah | March 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

      If was offered as a choice I would’ve voted for it. I know it was in the comments when this came up.

    • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm |

      I don’t know, that name kinda conjures up the image of a steaming dump.

  • SQL | March 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

    I think the main problem with where to draw a line considering what’s acceptable or not in using the native amrican imagery in sports is that the issue is not confined to the sports world.

    For years, the indians wars and the conquest of the West have been used as the main topics in Movies, books or comics and while the tone of these has evolved so that the native amricans were no longer depicted as bloodlusting savages, most of the time the hero was still a white guy (see Little Big Man or Dance with Wolves).

    I find it a little harsh, not ot say a bit hypocritical, to say that every sane person should feel offended by the use of native imagery in sports, while it would be allright to root for John Wayne and the cavalry in front of the TV.

    At the bottom of this lies the need for every human civilization to integrate parts of its defeated foes identity in its own culture(The Romans, for exemple, often incorporated the gods of vanquished countries in their own pantheon.)Anyway, it can be done in a derogatory way or as a tribute to the valiance of the vanquished opponent and all the matter of the issue lies in this subtlety, imho.

    That’s why I’m OK with the Braves and chiefs and not so much with the Redskins or Indians.

  • Steve D | March 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm |

    Any religious people ever complain about the New Jersey Devils? Serious question…someone could make the argument you are glorifying what is “believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of G-d and humankind*”

    *per Wikipedia.

    • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

      im sure there are a lot of people who are offended by the use of the term “devil” but the hockey team isn’t referring to ‘the personification of evil and the enemy of god and humankind’ but rather to a mythical creature “said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey … often described as a flying biped with hooves.”

      and im pretty sure that, at the time, many uninformed persons protested the use of the word but when they ultimately learned of the basis for the nickname, relented in their opposition

      and, yes, you could probably make a complaint about the use of the term (devil wouldn’t have been my first choice, although it was clear the “new jersey rockies” wasn’t going to fly)

      either way, “devil” isn’t a derogatory term pertaining to a race of people

      • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm |

        “and im pretty sure that, at the time, many uninformed persons protested the use of the word”

        They did, Christian groups got their panties in a bunch for the reasons Phil just explained – http://www.mentalflo...

        But alas, there is no such thing as the devil but there is such a thing as Native Americans.

        • Steve D | March 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

          I sense the potential for hypocrisy here…how can you overlook the fact that some people are offended by the use of Devil? Doesn’t matter what the intention of the team was…I’m sure almost all of the teams with potentially offensive names are trying to capture the positive qualities of the name. Who of us is qualified to decide which offense is valid and which is just an inconvenient misunderstanding?

        • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

          The New Jersey Devil is the name of a folklore creature. It’s exactly the same as a leprechaun, unicorn, sasquatch or Big Foot. It is the proper name of a mythical beast, and no matter how the name came into existence that is it’s name.

          This particular name has nothing to do with Angels and demons.

    • ThePonchat | March 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm |

      No way that works out. Nor should it.

      That’s like saying that those unconnected with a particular faith should have an issue with the California Angels of Anaheim (or whatever the location happens to be this year).

      • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

        I believe this season they’re the, “Pacific California Los Angeles County-neighboring Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County (The OC)”

        • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

          The Pacific California Los Angeles County-neighboring Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County (The OC), of the Pacific Time Zone

        • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm |

          SHIT! I knew I forgot something…

    • Komet17 | March 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

      Steve, while I have never complained about a team named Devils, I will say that, as an educator, I would not work for a school that had a devil nickname/mascot and, yes, that’s because of my Christian beliefs. I will admit that my viewpoint is probably very rare…

      • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

        Not even the Sun Devils or NJ Devils knowing that it’s named after a mythical creature? I mean that’s tantamount to a Portland Sasquatch team or a Boston Leprechauns team. It has nothing to do with Satan other than the beast people supposedly saw reminded them of a devil, but really it was just a cross between a horse, a bat and a monkey (or ManBearPig).

        • Komet17 | March 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

          Hi Tim O’B, I do understand the fictional basis of the NJ Devils name; however, my particular religious beliefs preclude me from associating with that term in any way. I know I’m in the extreme minority on this, even among Christians probably, but I don’t get bothered by others using it, am not offended, and don’t protest in any way. It’s just my firmly held belief…

        • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm |

          That’s fine there is no ‘wrong’ when it comes to trivial stuff like this, but I would just argue that something like a NJ devil is a cute foible of local folklore more than anything, but to each his own.

          …it just seems like putting in a lot of energy into something that doesn’t matter. But I guess it’s not like you gave up being a Devils fan, you just will continue to NOT be one.

        • odessasteps magazine | March 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm |

          Nit Pick:

          Robert McKimson created the Tazmanian Devl in 1954, long after Tex Avery left WB for MGM.

          Come to Taz-Mania
          Come to Taz-Mania

      • Steve D | March 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm |

        That is exactly my point…the arguments made about many of these nicknames seems to be even if it is really hard to judge how many people are actually offended by the names, some must be, therefore they need to be changed. In some cases, it is more obvious than others. Well, my rhetorical question has already found someone legitimately troubled by the use of the term Devil and I respect his opinion. Now who is to take the next step and say the name should be changed?

        • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm |

          steve

          the point is that “redskins” is derogatory, and the logos of both teams (skins & indians) are at best in bad taste, and at worst, patently offensive

          i don’t think use of the term “devil” (even if in the sense of the thing that oversees hell) or the devils logo (could do without the pointy tail) meets either of those specifications

          that being said, i was never a fan of it (and not for religious reasons, just i don’t think it’s a particularly good nickname, rife with potential for just this type of questioning) and would have no problem if someone wanted to have it changed

          but i do believe that being offended by redskins/indians and the use of the term “devils” is apples/oranges

        • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm |

          here’s how the point is different:

          Sasquatch, the New Jersey Devil, leprechauns, unicorns, dragons etc. are all FICTIONAL. They don’t exsist. Even if you believe in the existence of Satan, the New Jersey Devil never existed, it’s a mythical folk creature. Also, none of those are human beings.

          Native Americans are PEOPLE! Disenfranchised people at that. That’s why no one bitches about the Fighting Irish, because in this country, the Irish have become a vital, vocal part of our society, even reaching as high up as the presidency of the United States. Oh, and Irish isn’t a derogatory name like ‘redskin’ or ‘indian’ is. You might as well call them ‘savages’ and just rape them of their humanity, it makes forcibly relocating them much easier on the conscience.

          PEOPLe > Unicorns

        • Steve D | March 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

          Phil,

          I agree with you on Redskins and Chief Wahoo being offensive, but to who? You, me, Paul, many here…so ok. But now someone here is offended by Devil…there must be more like him out there…there are many Devil names…Blue Devils…Red Devils…their logos seem to have horns and tails…symbols associated by many of evil. I am thinking out loud a bit, but if we start saying one person’s offese is more valid than another’s who is the ultimate judge?

      • StLMarty | March 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm |

        Are you offended by Crusaders?

        • Steve D | March 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

          Somebody probably is…so again, who among is is qualified to judge how many have to be offended for the name to be changed.

        • Komet17 | March 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm |

          Hi Marty, actually, the college I attended (Point Loma Nazarene) changed its nickname from Crusaders to Sea Lions after 9/11, and I think that was a good idea.

        • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

          CRUSADERS HAPPENED! That’s historical fact! Even if what they did was terrible, it’s not a slur, it’s the name of a historic group of people.

          God, you’re muddling the waters on such a clear subject by lumping in mythical creatures and historical figures with RACIAL EPITHETS.

          Stop it.

        • Steve D | March 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm |

          Tim,

          I believe many Muslims are deeply offended by “Crusaders” and would consider it racial.

        • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm |

          “the college I attended (Point Loma Nazarene) changed its nickname from Crusaders to Sea Lions”

          ~~~

          and you stayed a fan…oh wait, you’re an alumnus, you don’t have much choice

          but seriously, that must have killed you, right? all that fan gear now worthless, had to go out and buy all new foam fingers and caps and jerseys and stuff?

          probably had to repaint your whole mancave and toss all those crusaders mugs and fatheads and such, right?

          sounds like they did this all to spite YOU and only you, despite all those years of support you gave to them

          or…maybe you just accepted it as the right thing to do and moved on

        • Komet17 | March 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm |

          Hi Phil, no, it didn’t really bother me as an alum at all, probably because I really didn’t ever follow the school’s teams too much, even when attending there. Plus, the school is sited on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, so Sea Lions is actually a more unique and appropriate nickname. I believe (but I’m not absolutely sure) that “Lions” has a meaning for the school in connection with Christ as the Lion of Judah.

        • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm |

          “Tim,

          I believe many Muslims are deeply offended by “Crusaders” and would consider it racial.”

          My best friend is Pakistani and Muslim. He finds no offense because that’s a historical name. It’s not a racial epithet. Now, if they were called the Dune Coons he would probably have a problem with it. But it isn’t.

          It’s like being offended by “Minute Men” because you’re English. Uh, that’s the proper name of a historical group of people, there is no racial slight being implied AT ALL. Your arguments are built on sand and my waves of facts are eroding your foundation quickly.

        • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm |

          I can’t say this with 100 percent certainty, but I’m pretty sure the product name “Dirt Devil” hasn’t much to do with theology.

          Some words do have both secular and religious meanings. And we’d do well to consider intent.

          The New Jersey Devils is most decidedly secular.
          And a Tasmanian Devil is a nasty little mammal, but it wasn’t spawned in the Netherworld, and no one’s claiming it was.

        • StLMarty | March 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm |

          “CRUSADERS HAPPENED! That’s historical fact! Even… blah blah blah.”

          Chill, son.
          My question was rhetorical.

          If I had attempted to muddle, I would have muddled big time.

        • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm |

          “a Tasmanian Devil is a nasty little mammal, but it wasn’t spawned in the Netherworld”

          ~~~

          as a saturday morning cartoon devotee, i most assuredly found tex avery & chuck jones’ depiction of said beast to be quite the spawn from a netherworld

  • rm2283 | March 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm |

    Nobody answered my question, maybe because I hit at the REAL issue :

    “How about instead of spending 100s of millions (because that’s what a total re-branding would cost) on renaming teams as a shallow gesture as a pathetic attempt to make amends, we focus our time and money on improving conditions on the reservations. I think that would be a much more real gesture, certainly both more meaningful and a better use of time and money than changing “Redskins” to “Potomacs””

    I guess nobody cares about making conditions better for Native Americans now, as long as we avoid a name that was offensive in the past. God forbid you actually focus your time+anger into the REAL problems facing Native Americans today. Most of them could care less about the nicknames, mostly because they have enough actual problems in day to day life now. Most of the poorest counties in the US are on Reservations.

    How about we focus on that and not if “Redskins” is more offensive than “Chiefs.” This PC effort to change names is nothing more than an attempt to ignore the real issue and allow people who feel guilty to feel better without having to dip into their wallets or donate their precious time.

    What’s done is done, and we can’t undo it. However, if we focused this energy towards the plight of the people on reservations, with sky high poverty and over 80% unemployment, it would mean A LOT more to the Native Americans. It would show them that there are people who actually care about them, not just want to look like they care by launching a crusade against names that they as Native Americans don’t even find offensive. That would be a much more real gesture and step towards reconciliation than changing some names for some sports teams.

    • ThePonchat | March 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

      Your question was sort of answered multiple times.

      Just read through them.

      Numerous posters said (I am summarizing here) using some of the tribal names or even nicknames of some (like Chiefs, Warriors, Braves, or Indians) would ensure that either pro teams or colleges/universities give some sort of kick-back to the tribes or tribal people.

      So, while no one addressed your question of why not “not” rebrand and instead help…it was somewhat covered. There needs to be a change. You can undo things. These teams will exist for MANY years (barring the end of the world in December). So, many people won’t see the insensitive name of “Redskins” all over the place.

      In essence, we are getting rid of the “labeling” of people groups and just identifying people based on them being people. No more black, white, yellow, red, or brown. They are people. They aren’t savages. So forth and so on.

      • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm |

        that, plus this is a uniform (and by extension team name & logo) board

        we’ve probably already strayed FAR FAR from those parameters already, adding comments addressing the plight of native americans, germane as it might be to your question, is pretty much out of the realm of this particular discussion thread

        i agree with you and think it deserves to be discussed; i just don’t think UW is the place for that

  • James A | March 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

    For fun, let’s just rename the Braves as the Crackers (Which was used by Atlanta’s minor league team) and see how long it takes Fox News to freak out. Probably during a slow news cycle or as a way to avoid something going right during the Obama administration (or avoid something bad happening to a Republican).

    • Donald P | March 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm |

      They have worn the Atlanta Black Crackers throwbacks a few times.

  • SQL | March 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm |

    And just for the sake of argument. There’s an historical precedent to a team being forced to change its name because it was deemed offensive by some :

    Twice in the 1950s (the McCarthy era), the Reds, fearing that their traditional club nickname would associate them with the threat of Communism, officially changed the name of the team to the Cincinnati Redlegs. From 1956 to 1960, the club’s logo was altered to remove the term “REDS” from the inside of the “wishbone C” symbol. The “REDS” reappeared on the 1961 uniforms, but the point of the C was removed, leaving a smooth, non-wishbone curve. The traditional home-uniform logo was restored in 1967.
    with thanx to wikipedia

    • Graf Zeppelin | March 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm |

      Not quite the same thing. The team did that pre-emptively, not because they were being pressured by McCarthyites or by any actual “reds”. They weren’t concerned that people would complain that it was insulting, degrading or disparaging of them. They were concerned that it would create a bad association for the team.

    • pushbutton | March 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

      They twice changed their name to Redlegs? Reds to Redlegs to Reds to Redlegs to Reds?

      And what was the significance of the sharp point on the wishbone C? The bloody barb of the Bolshevik?

  • Davey301 | March 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

    Washington Warriors. Keep the colors, change the helmet logo back to the arrow.

    I wanted Washington Monuments for the basketball team when they decided to change their name. Would go perfect with the uni they have now.

    Washington Federals would have been a good name for the baseball team.

    • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

      Problem with Monuments is that, with the exception San Francisco’s cable cars which are rolling national monuments, the word usually is associated with things that are not all that mobile. As such, not much of a nickname for a sports team.

      • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

        Then again, when was the last time the Rocky Mountains stole second, right?

        • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

          Or Magic or Heat set a pick.

        • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm |

          Point remains that Monument conjures images of a big blob of something plopped somewhere for people to stare it while it just sits there doing nothing.

          Wait, I can think of a couple teams…

      • HHH | March 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm |

        The Washington Monument is a giant phallic symbol. How is that not the perfect nickname and logo for a men’s sports team? Yes, it doesn’t bring to mind images of speed or movement, but seriously, what’s more masculine than a big fat penis?

        • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm |

          “seriously, what’s more masculine than a big fat penis?”

          ~~~

          too bad there is no “COTD” on mondays…

    • Gil Neumann | March 18, 2012 at 8:56 pm |

      After yesterday’s comments, I’m surprised Phil included the Washington Federals as an option. To modify the quote, “D.C. already ha[d] a team called [Washington Federals]. Would it look good for the NFL to follow the [USFL]’s lead?” I like it though… to each his/her opinion…

  • Tim | March 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm |

    I apologize if this has already been posted, but the Washington Post has a Facebook gallery of political campaign-style buttons for each of the 68 teams in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. http://on.fb.me/yZRe...

  • Komet17 | March 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

    OK, back to Benchies t-shirts: is there an archive of strips somewhere that we could peruse in order to nominate favorite panels for consideration?

    • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

      this is by no means the full archive, but this should be pretty much every strip in the past two years or so

      hopefully ricko won’t mind me posting them here

      please, if you see a panel you like, let me or ricko know

      there may be a few more choice bits here

      • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

        Well, crap on a cracker, that’s a mess of Benchies.

        • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm |

          Know what’s kinda cool?
          If you google “Benchies” the first thing that comes up is that UW story from 13 months ago.
          (I didn’t know that until my daughter told me).

        • George Chilvers | March 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm |

          If you Google ‘benchies site:uni-watch.com’ you get a more focussed search, and particularly if you then hit the “images” button. HTH.

      • Komet17 | March 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm |

        Thanks, Phil!

    • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

      I nominate one from a month or so back, when Mike proclaimed his life was over while sitting around in a robe for a few days after a Hooters waitress called him “sir”. Classic.

    • Jim Vilk | March 18, 2012 at 11:20 pm |

      Just glanced through, but this is one of my favorites:
      http://farm6.staticf...
      This one, too:
      http://farm6.static....

  • Kjseek | March 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

    I am a Cleveland native and regular Uni-Watch visitor and I was intrigued to find one of my towns teams at the top of the page today. I will not deny that Chief Wahoo is a rather distasteful caricature of a race of people. However, I do not find the name Indians to be hurtful, as Redskins most definitely is an insensitive slang term. Indians is just a name of a people, admittedly historically inaccurate but not derogatory in any way. We are not called the “Screaming Indians” or “Scalping Indians” but other teams are allowed and celebrated for names like that. Sorry Notre Dame, but “Fighting Irish” is worse than “Indians”. I’m sure the Irish people are not very happy to have their entire nationality stereotyped as “fighting”. I would not mind at all if Chief Wahoo disappeared, I quite like the retro block ‘C’ that is on some of our hats now, but as for the name “indians” I do not see why it has to go. I am sad that teams have had to change their names from Native American names all for the sake of Political Correctness. Chief Wahoo and the names “Redskins” and “Fighting Irish” should go because they are hurtful, not because they are ‘Politically Correct’. I have never understood why Notre Dame is never included in these discussions. The reason I have been given is usually, “Well, it’s true” or “they don’t care, Irish people like that they are portrayed like that”. Those are actual reasons i have been told and as the post said:

    You can cite to me all the “polls” and “surveys” you want that purport “80% of the ______ tribe don’t find the Redskins name and logo offensive.” But if I told you a survey said “20% of African Americans find the name Nigger Offensive” you wouldn’t go touting that as evidence that the term is perfectly acceptable to use.

    The Atlanta Braves have eliminated the derogatory depiction of a Native American from their uniform but did not change their name. The Braves should be given credit for that because the name Braves is not slanderous even though they still have attachments to Native American culture with the tomahawk logos. The “Tomahawk Chop” on the other hand should be banned on the same grounds that Chief Wahoo, the Redskins logo, and the Fighting Irish logo should be gone. (and I do not only say that because of the 1995 World Series when I heard that damn chanting in my sleep). I feel that the Indians organization has made a small effort to minimize the visibility of Chief Wahoo and hopefully they are aiming for a long-term phase out of that logo in favor of the the block ‘C” logo, but i hope that my city’s baseball team is called the Indians for many years to come.

    • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

      I am Irish and LOATH Notre Dame, so if I had an opportunity to rip them I would:

      Most historians believe that the ‘Fighting’ in Fighting Irish refers to either the fighting spirit and never say die attitude of the predominantly Irish teams that played at Notre Dame or that is honors Irish brigades that fought in the Civil War.

      It, historically, has no inkling of an attachment to the stereotypical ‘drunken fighting’ many people assume today.

      This is similar as to why the NCAA doesn’t have a problem with ‘Fighting Illini’ (whom I also LOATH), the ‘fighting’ part came after WWII (or maybe WWI) to honor Illinois veterans.

      As for your defense of ‘Indians’, if someone had landed in Italy can called the inhabitants Jews, it would be just as insensitive as calling Native Americans ‘Indians’. They’re not Indian, there share no history or justifiable ancestry and they would not enjoy being referred to as the wrong people just as Americans would not enjoy being called Japanese.

      • Kjseek | March 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm |

        Points taken, and good points they are, I was merely stating my opinion. The fact that you are not ofended by the Fighting Irish nickname doesn’t mean everyone isn’t. I am not saying you should or shouldn’t be offended just that the possibility is out there even though you would take every opportunity to bash Notre Dame and aren’t offended.

        You brought up great history about the name Fighting Irish and it’s origins but the original of the name Indians was to be in honor (arguable history but still) of a player, but that doesn’t mean that someone can’t find the name offensive. It goes right along with people making incorrect assumptions about the origin of a name, which you stated about the Irish nickname.

        I agree with you about the last thing you said about conquerers of a land calling the native people whatever they want and I hadn’t thought about it that way. You bring up a good point and may have changed my mind about my defense of the ‘Indians’ name but I still equate the name with the great teams of the 90’s that i grew up with (not the persecution of a people) and that nostalgia makes me not want to change the name but im not so sure anymore.

        • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm |

          Well, I’m really glad this calm, informed, civil discussion took place. I’m in a very different discussion above and this reminds me that people even with differing opinions can just talk stuff out without obfuscating the point and admitting their own biases.

          Maybe you’re right about the ‘Indians’ name being misconstrued over time, but I think it would be best, and quite big of the organization, to admit that at least wahoo is wrong and make a concerted effort to do right by native american groups as well as their devoted fans.

        • Kjseek | March 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm |

          Yes, I also want to thank you for your enlightened civility in this discussion. I have seen the posts where people have devolved into biting sarcasm and backhanded remarks.

          I agree with you on Chief Wahoo, he should go and I believe that, if I am interpreting the organizations actions correctly, he is being slowly phased out and replaced by a block ‘C’, although nothing official has been stated.

  • Robert Silverman | March 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm |

    Very interesting conversation here today. Ironically, I actually might buy that “NEW YORK JEWS/KIKES” hat if it wasn’t in that atrocious color-set.

    Granted, I’m Jewish, and if I saw a Gentile wearing it (how one would be able to tell who is and is not a Gentile opens up a whole other massive can of worms) I might not be so amused/enthralled. It’s a conundrum that points directly at the paradox of minorities claiming offensive stereotypes and/or terms to defuse them only to have claiming at times unfortunately reinforcing the selfsame cliches/prejudices.

    Anyhoo, are they for sale anywhere?

    • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm |

      How would Maccabees work as a nickname?
      Great word in and of itself, but for all their respect as warriors they also were some pretty nasty dudes.

      Sorta kinda like Vikings in that respect, maybe?

      • Robert Silverman | March 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm |

        Actually, FYI many Israeli sports teams use that nickname already.

        http://forward.com/a...

        http://en.wikipedia....

        • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

          Knew that.
          Was wondering about if, say, an NBA team used it.

  • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm |

    Okay, I’ll say it.
    Oregon’s court looks stupid.
    Looks like it’s worn out, or suffering from water damage.

    But, hey, it’s cool, right?

    • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm |

      What if someone dropped a bleach bomb at center court?
      Would that be a great look or what.

  • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 5:46 pm |

    Time for UNC to ditch the argyle.

    • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm |

      Why? They look great.

    • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm |

      I’m just sick of it. Wish they would go back to the Worthy/Jordan/Perkins era set, or something inspired by those. I love the thin side panel stripe, running down to narrow triangle panel on the shorts… simple, and just right.

      • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm |

        I’m sorry, the triangle panel isn’t really that narrow… but the Tarheel patch inside is awesome.

      • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  • Keith Piper | March 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm |

    Its just a team name folks, changing the names and logos sets a dangerous precedent, whats next the Irish want to get the Celtics logo banned because it is an Irish stereotype? I usually agree with you on things but I happen not to on this one.

    • Anthony | March 19, 2012 at 9:16 am |

      Leprechauns aren’t real. Native Americans are.

  • Keith Piper | March 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm |

    I do live in Cleveland and am also a fan of the local teams, unfortunately it appears the Indians are phasing Chief Wahoo out, its just a cartoon character if you look hard enough im sure anyone can nit pick at something racist, I remember once the hispanics claimed the Browns were offensive. If i were a Native American I think there are far larger problems for them to deal with than waste their time on this

    • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

      I thought I read or heard that the Chief Wahoo hat was one of the more popular sellers in the past decade or so.

      Anybody remember or confirm that?

  • Rob | March 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm |

    Hi Paul,

    Great conversation starter, and I hope it doesn’t stop here. I figured there would be some dissent to your opinion but I thought you should hear some support too. I am amazed that quite a few people are still trying to downplay your argument by comparing Native Americans to other groups of people, many of which are not even distinct ethnic groups, and many of which were certainly not oppressed nor nearly eradicated from the planet.

    MLB, NFL – Change the names. Let’s hear it for the Spiders and Federals!

    -Rob

  • Rob H. | March 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm |

    You know, I think all sports teams should just get rid of all nicknames. Just the city name in nice, simple block lettering. Then no one would be offended. What a wonderful world it would be.

    • George Chilvers | March 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

      Works fine for us over here in football (soccer).

  • Joe | March 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    Hasn’t anyone at UW read this Sports Illustrated article?

    http://sportsillustr...

    I think that Uni Watch is wasting its time debating the issue of American Indian nicknames. These nicknames have been a part of professional and collegiate sports for generations. Organizations choose to name their teams after the American Indian people because American Indians epitomize valor, bravery, and power, not because they wish to demean Indian people. No one finds naming a team the Knickerbockers, the Celtics, or the Canucks demoralizing to Dutch immigrants, Irish people, or Candadians, respectively. Why do Indian nicknames receive different treatment? The SI article clearly shows that its not because a sizable portion of Indians find these names insulting — they are even willing to pay for and proudly wear these teams’ merchandise. As a resident of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I have noticed that Chief Wahoo and Fighting Sioux hats are very popular among local Sioux people. It is apparent that Indians do not find these names and symbols offensive. I think the real racism is when white politicians and white NCAA officials tell Indian people what they SHOULD find offensive.

    • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm |

      When I went to an Indians game at the Jake as a kid, it wasn’t NCAA officials outside protesting, it was native americans.

      • The Jeff | March 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm |

        …and when I go a heavy metal concert, there’s typically christians holding signs damning me to hell for it – that doesn’t mean that all christians share that view.

        We’ve seen multiple studies and surveys that indicate the VAST majority of natives are not offended. We’re talking about offending a really, really small minority of people. At some point, I think you really can just ignore that. You can always find *someone* who’s offended by something.

        Changing the Indians or Redskins names is nothing but a feel-good gesture. It doesn’t do anything to help the remaining tribes, and it would actually be taking away symbols that many of them have embraced.

        • Tim E. O'B | March 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm |

          But to say that only NCAA officials are upset is a cop out and bullshit. Indians are offended, maybe not most of them, but that is who the NCAA is speaking for. They have no dog in the change your name fight.

    • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm |

      i didn’t read the article, but for the sake of argument, lets say that 90% of ALL (because they obviously polled every single person with american indian blood, right) native peoples find the name “redskin” not offensive…and 10% do

      does that mean we should continue to use the offensive term?

      lets put it another way…and i used this example above — if you polled african-americans and asked them if they find the term “nigger” offensive…if only 10% said yes, would you therefore be justified in using the term?

      again, this isn’t about “political correctness” or “everybody gets a ribbon,” both of which i detest…this is about simple right and wrong

      and if you don’t think using the term “redskin” is wrong, then nothing i can say will convince you otherwise

      and an argument i have not used, but which paul has, is — the difference between using the terms “kinckerbockers” “celtics” or “canucks” and “redskins” is simple — not only is the term “redskins” racist, none of those groups were subject to “the shameful ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from this continent”

      • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm |

        What if only one person finds it offensive?

        • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 8:25 pm |

          what if that one person is you?

        • The Jeff | March 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

          what if that one person is you?

          Then I don’t support that team.

          I also don’t listen to music that offends me or play video games or watch movies that offend me. I don’t go trying to ban anyone else from hearing/playing/watching them though. I’m not being harmed by those things existing.

          We aren’t talking about anyone being oppressed or abused or having any rights violated. We’re talking about a name of a sports team.

        • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm |

          If I was that offended by the nickname of a sports team I would find another team. If the team was local or home state. I doubt the nickname would bother me that much.

          Is there any history on when the teams were named if Native Americans were upset at the time? If they would have stopped the names from the beginning ok.

        • Jason | March 19, 2012 at 12:20 am |

          As long as Paul “It offends me” Lukas is bothered, then it’s everyone’s problem…whether you agree with him or not…

      • Ricko | March 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm |

        Spent 12 years working for an ad agency that dealt almost exclusively with Native American Casinos. Only comment I ever heard one way or the other was from a Stanford-educated Tribal Council member.

        Basically he said, “I dunno, without those nicknames maybe our history would be forgotten altogether, WE’D be forgotten altogether. Or just be the minority with the casinos.”

        • Phil Hecken | March 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm |

          “Only comment I ever heard one way or the other was from a Stanford-educated Tribal Council member.”

          ~~~

          was that when stanford’s nickname was the indians or the cardinal?

  • odessasteps magazine | March 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm |

    I still like Kornheiser’s idea of putting a Potato on their helmet and calling them the Redskins. :>

  • traxel | March 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm |

    Serious question, apologize if it’s been covered as I didn’t read all above comments, but…..

    Is there a way a Native American name can be used to glorify the race? It seems to me THAT would be the way to do this right. Since I completely understand the argument, don’t necessarily agree with it, but understand both sides, what name can be used that would bring positive and proud attention to Native Americans? I’d hate to see more evidence of their existence eliminated. And this does bring attention to the issue, so…..can we find names that can turn this into a positive and not eliminate them completely? I really don’t have any idea as to what those names might be, might be best to ask members of that community. Comments? Ideas?

  • Andrew | March 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm |

    So apparently I have the battered wife syndrome, and I for some reason, read through most of the comments. What a shame this blog became today. I come to this site to read about uniforms. Granted todays blog was about uniforms. It seems to be more of a political soap box that Phil and Paul took advantage of to convey their feelings. Today they, and all of us who posted comments today, made this blog a “who has the bigger cock?” contest. I understand there are very intense feelings from both sides of the arguement. And of course this is America, we all have the right to those opinions. Can we please bring this website back to the one we all have enjoyed for going on 6 years?

    • traxel | March 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm |

      Yes, sometimes things get opinionated politically on Paul’s site. As he well knows, he and I do not drink from the same pool of water when it comes to many political decisions. But, we are friends as we both respect this of each other. Where problems occur is when name calling and personal attacks happen, and neither of us care for this unproductive activity. What it comes down to is that it is Paul’s blog. It isn’t Paul’s network news, it is his blog. I’ve learned a lot from him and appreciate his sincere stance on things. Uniforms as a pure design subject matter only go so far, but this blog goes much further. He might wake up tomorrow and turn it into a blog about hippopotamus ballet and he can do that if he wants to. Probably not if he wants to keep followers, but he can. Still, this subject matter is about design in the sports world and these names are a part of it. I say keep the Indian names but that’s just me. Paul (it’s his blog and he wouldn’t have Phil writing if he didn’t approve of the subject matter) should do what he wants. And I find his writing entertaining and am glad he continues to write what he wants.

      • Paul Lukas | March 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm |

        Thanks, Ben.

        Just got home. Not interested in re-hashing the arguments — had enough of that for today. Only one thing to add, as it pertains to Ben’s comment that I “wouldn’t have Phil writing if [I] didn’t approve of the subject matter”: Phil does not clear or coordinate his topics with me, and that includes today’s topic. He’s free to write whatever he wants. I learned about today’s content at the same time as the rest of you — when I read today’s entry this morning. With a few very rare exceptions, that’s always how I learn about what Phil’s writing. Usually I like what I see; occasionally I don’t. I imagine he feels similarly about my entries. Either way, he can (and does) do what he likes.

        Phil and I agree on many uni-related topics, but not all of them. In the case of Native American imagery, it’s something we’ve discussed among ourselves very little.

        Ben, I know you didn’t mean to imply that Phil’s simply my mouthpiece or rubber stamp or anything along those lines, but I wanted to make it clear that that’s NOT the case. Phil’s his own man. Today I just happened to pick up his ball and run with it.

        That’s all.

        • traxel | March 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

          Yeah, I didn’t mean that, but that is how it came across. My point was that it is your blog, Phil’s free to start his own whenever he wants. When Phil started, I’m sure you noticed his content was overall quite interesting and he gained your confidence to proceed as he sees fit. I’m sure you’d have dumped him long ago had he been terrible, condescending, or limited to hippo ballet.

  • Wheels | March 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm |

    If you turn on the MLB Network, you will see the Orioles wearing their new hats with their white homes.

  • Jim Vilk | March 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm |

    What a shame this blog became today. I come to this site to read about uniforms.
    Well, there was that 5&1 list, which apparently only Tim E. O’Brien read…

    Like Ben, I don’t always agree with Paul and Phil, but we’re still friends. I do agree with them on this one, though (well, I don’t mind Chiefs and Braves, just not the old mascots they had). I do think any team that uses a Native American reference should make a more than significant contribution to the well-being of the people they are honoring.

    • Jim Vilk | March 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

      That was supposed to go above Wheels’ good news about the Orioles hats.

    • Oakville Endive | March 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm |

      I read your top 5 Jim, I thought the Beach games, was one of those rare AC/DC games, both teams could either be home or away, and yep the font on the Beach looks out of some cheap crime novel.

      I also agreed with your worst pick, both for Baylor being an Oregon wannabe, and SDSU being BFBS, sacrificing what looks like what could have been a nice royal blue, athletic gold uni, do like the “Jackrabbits” name……I wondered if Jackrabbits are offended by it?

      Go Lehigh(A good Brown for Brown sake uni)

      • Jim Vilk | March 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm |

        Was pulling for Lehigh, too. I like the Patriot League a lot. Alas, Xavier just ended their run.

        SDSU/Baylor *could* have been a great matchup. And yeah, Jackrabbits is a great name.

  • LarryB | March 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm |

    Speaking of Cleveland. I just checked Shorpy.

    They have a shot of League Park with a game going on in 1908

    http://www.shorpy.co...

  • Teebz | March 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm |

    I’ll push this one further…

    With the North Dakota Fighting Sioux (as per ND law mandating they keep the name for now) winning the WHCA men’s hockey championship, they qualify for the NCAA tournament. The NCAA has made it clear that they will not allow UND into a tournament if they don’t change the name and imagery, yet they were ranked as the top seed for the West Regional and will play Western Michigan on March 24.

    My question is this: if the NCAA allows UND to participate as the Fighting Sioux, should they be pushing for UND to change the name? Does the NCAA’s demands fall flat because they are proving hypocritical?

    • Komet17 | March 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm |

      Actually, I think the NCAA rule is that schools using “offensive” nicknames and/or mascots simply cannot host post-season play. Also, they can’t exhibit the mascots at non-home sites. I think I have this right–I don’t believe any school is banned from post-season play because of nickname/mascot issues. I live in Fighting Illini country, so this is how I recall the issue when Illinois gave up the Chief a few years ago.

  • Ghostly | March 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm |

    I was traveling in Montana and the Dakotas for work several years ago, and working with a lot of American Indians with the Lewis and Clark bicentennial. I was working out of an office based in Washington DC at the time. Now anecdotes do not equate to accuracy, but I have to say this:
    At one point the conversation turned to pro football, frustrated by the antics of my hometown team under Steve Spurrier, I said aloud “at least you all don’t have to deal with those F***ing, G*d-Damned Redskins.” I should have watched my mouth considering who could accidentally hear me. That job was a living hell for the next year and a half. Yes, I heard the term plenty in Indian country, from Indian to Indian, but when it comes out of the mouth of a white guy they don’t know, it is going to sound offensive, even in an accidental use.

  • Kyle Allebach | March 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm |

    What’s the record for weekend comments? I know it was over 400 for the weekday comments.

  • Rydell | March 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm |

    Either I plead igornance to skin color and name calling or I find neither a Redskin or Indian offensive. Racism does not exist in my vocabulary..I route for a team, or a person, not the name or (skin) color.

  • Rydell | March 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm |

    Some dude from Xavier just threw on a #24 jersey. Phil Nance wasn’t sure if it were his own..

  • Rydell | March 18, 2012 at 10:51 pm |

    By the time I get to read and post comments 95% of yous are tucked away in bed. But here’s my take. This is based on human rights, “a colored mean faced indian with a spear as a logo that’s racist”. What about animal rights? Why is it silent when a bear is used as a logo, or moose, shark, a tiger!! Some of these are on the brink of extinction, does this not endorse poachers to hunt in cold blood? Maybe a pillow for a logo will cause ease to everybody or a sofa or a coffee table. I recently read an article stating animal based logos are causing extinction to certain animals on the chain due to “popular animal logos” in terms of $$$ spent on merchandise because of fierce animal like acts portrayed in pro sporting logos.

    • Teebz | March 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm |

      Link the article, and you have credence. Otherwise, I’m calling BS to this argument, Rydell. The 99.9% of people who cheer for the Miami Marlins have never seen one, let alone caught one, in their lives.

  • Carolingian Steamroller | March 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm |

    I admit that I haven’t had time to peruse all the comments but from what sample that I did read it seams that much of this issue stems from an individual crisis of conscience. To what extend I feel experience shame/embarrassment or make another experience shame/embarrassment as a consequence of a particular public image.

    The harsh reality is that we can try to repair the damage done by the atrocities of the past but we can never change the fact that they did happen. As a result we must all share in the burden of the shamefulness of those acts. It could be argued that looking towards sporting emblems as a battleground is a feeble gesture compared with the ceaseless horrors that took place.

    Yet despite the seemingly Sisyphean task before us some offenses are so obvious, so simple to undue that to ignore them would be callous. To debate the place of Native American imagery in the United States will forever be tied to the place Native American people have in our society.

    However, we can always fall back on Paul’s “Is it stupid?” rule. Is it stupid for Washington’s football team to be named the Red-skins? YES!! Is it stupid for Cleveland’s AL team to have a preposterously cartoonish racial stereotype as their emblem? YES!!

  • Wheels | March 19, 2012 at 12:20 am |

    This Fugazi song is appropriate in light of today’s discussion: http://youtu.be/C75A...

  • Patrick_in_MI | March 19, 2012 at 2:01 am |

    Alas, there were no good options for the Cleveland team in my opinion. Rockers and Barons? Previous team names that failed. Foresters? Is that anything like Lumberjacks? Municipals? WAY too generic. Lakers? I thought they moved to LA. Grovers? Maybe they could rename Erie Street to Sesame Street. Naps? I appreciate the history but it has no resonance today. Spiders? GAH, I hate spiders! Bulldogs? Too closely associated with the Dawg Pound of the Browns.

    As for Washington, I voted for Commanders. George Washington himself was our first Commander-in-chief so I like the imagery. I’m afraid if it were the Washington Federals, there would be even more corprate tie-ins since they play at FedEx Field. Probably have the FedEx logo on the helmet. Maybe turn that hidden arrow into a spear!

  • Benjamin | March 19, 2012 at 2:05 am |

    A couple things to add even though you East Coasters are already in bed:

    1. It’s fascinating that easily the most offensive team name in professional sports calls the most politically correct city in the country home. Might a little counter-culture spirit be part of the reason Washington is so crazy about the ‘Skins?

    2. This is far from a black and white issue. Those names are offensive alright, but all those Native American team names and logos have something else that few others have: dignity (Cleveland Indians not withstanding). The man on the Redskins logo looks so calm and proud, as if he’s seen a thousand wars. The Chicago Blackhawks logo is routinely regarded as one of the best in sports. When you’re replacing team names like this, yeah, you’re getting rid of the offensive imagery, but you’re also getting rid of some deeply powerful meaning and connection in a team identity that you can’t get in the Wizards.

    So the real challenge for our armchair uniformologists: Can we make a team name that is unoffensive to our conscious AND our pride?

  • hello_diddy | March 19, 2012 at 3:45 am |

    Cleveland Americans.

    Washington Americans.

    Lose the caricature, keep the colors and the peripheral branding and the allusions to a proud history. Exercise restraint and common sense. Step carefully.

    Considering we’re talking about MLB and the NFL, that last bit is probably not possible. So, yeah: just call them the Wizards and the Harry Potters.

  • John F | March 19, 2012 at 9:28 am |

    I hate Political Correctness. It’s bad when it affects current events, but now it’s got its fangs into the world of sports. Save everyone the problem, and start renaming every team by either City Name or Alphabet Letter. That’s the only way we’ll ensure every person will stop crying racism…

    “Welcome to Super Bowl VXIII, with the Dallas A’s vs. the New York 23’s.”
    “Next up to bat is Curtis Granderson, he’s the leading the New York Y’s in RBI’s and SB’s this year…”

    Of course, don’t underestimate the complainers out there, they’ll most likely take offense to letters and numbers as well…don’t get me started on the term “Cougar” now being off-limits in some sports communities.

    If you started a team name, would you use a mascot that isn’t honorable and worthy of “bragging” about? Would I use a snail or baby as a team mascot? Heck no, so why do people take offense to Sioux, Indians, etc. being used as a mascot? Most of the people complaining aren’t even a Sioux, Indian, etc…people need to start worrying about more important things, rather than complaining about what may offend people. People are starving, WWIII is teetering into reality, Politics are corrupting the world, and people are seriously complaining about mascots…good grief.

  • Mike V. | March 19, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    As someone from Pittsburgh. Regarding the Cleveland Indians, I am mostly offended by the word ‘Cleveland’.

  • ReggieDunlop | March 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm |

    Uniwatch is a great website….until political issues are raised, at which time it becomes an echo chamber of tired cliches from liberals in high dudgeon over something terribly “offensive” which must be corrected at all costs or the world will stop spinning on it’s axis. When this happens, the site is about as fun and interesting as reading a transcript of any show that was ever on AirAmerica. Also: those that condemn the Chief Wahoo but find nothing wrong with a depiction of people from Ireland as stumpy, bearded, leprechauns looking for a fistfight are the true hypocrites.

  • Mike from Cleveland via DC & Boston | March 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

    Cheers to Paul and Phil! My $0.02 to an already long argument. I’m an 8 year resident of Cleveland and embarassed by Wahoo. I also lived in DC for 7 years and even worked as a beer vendor at RFK (don’t get me started on those goofy “Hogettes”). I say change the names. Wahoo/Redskins proponents mock “political correctness”. “What’s the big deal?”, they say. …to which I respond, “Yes, what’s the big deal?” If the offensive logo/nickname is no big deal then change it. I don’t understand clinging to these when it is so crystal clear that they are wrong.

    • John F | March 20, 2012 at 8:03 am |

      “What’s the big deal?” Exactly, so why does a team have to completely rebrand itself just because a minority of people (easy now, I mean this in terms of quantity, not in terms of race) are complaining about this issue. The Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins have been around for a very long time, and it hasn’t been an “issue” until this era of Political Correctness has taken hold.

      It’s not a big deal, and to expect entire teams to change everything about them, is crazy. You know how much money would be spent on modifying the stadium, jerseys, merchandise, marketing, etc.??? All because some people are offended? Geesh, peoples’ skin is getting real thin nowadays, regardless of what color the skin is…

      • Mike from Cleveland via DC & Boston | March 20, 2012 at 11:47 am |

        So you don’t think it’s a big deal? or you do? Because you seem pretty worked up about it. Marketing is changed everyday. For the indians, I think it’s easy, just drop the racist cartoon (for me the name is no big deal). The ‘skins are a little more involved, but DC has been through this drill before with the Bullets/wizards.

        • John F | March 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

          Well, your opinion doesn’t mean squat. While you may not have objections to the term “Indian”, a lot of people do. My point is you will never make everyone happy. So no, it’s NOT a big deal, and because it’s NOT a big deal, I don’t think institutions should have to change their identity because of a few whiners that have nothing else to do in their spare time but complain about mundane things. I only get worked up when individuals think they are more important than society.

  • Sully | March 20, 2012 at 1:59 am |

    Posted this on the “Going Green” thread but this this one seems to have more, er, traffic. What about the Washington Hogs? Or if we feel like stepping on some Arknsas-ian toes in order to save the slick ‘R’ logos, the Washingron Razorbacks? I feel like we could keep the kickass color scheme and unis while paying homage to the teams glory years. Something it has built for itself and not taken from a race of people. ‘Skins fans will instantly have recognition of their famous bruising teams of yesteryear and their name is unique among the major sports franchises. Win-win?

  • brett | March 20, 2012 at 8:05 am |

    what about notre dame? they need a redo as well. or is just ok to be racist against white people?

  • damajuki | March 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm |

    Hello all. Great website and discussion. Given the topic, I’m impressed at the level of dialogue and back and forth, and I mean that sincerely; it’s been a good read today. I’m a Cleveland Frowns reader who was pointed here from there but this is an issue long on my mind and I hope I can lend something to the discussion.

    I have long believed that using native peoples’ names and imagery for sports branding is wrong for one simple but profound reason: those names and images refer to ACTUAL people, whose history and identity, by right of common sense and decency, belong to THOSE PEOPLE, and those people ALONE. It is, in short, a question of RIGHTFUL OWNERSHIP of the names, images and history of native peoples.

    Sports business entities appropriating the names and images of actual human beings — many of whom were and still are mistreated/underserved simply because of their race/ethnic identity — for the sole purpose of inspiring passion amongst its followers (for the ultimate purposes of profit) is nothing more than a shameful and callow marketing ploy gone horribly awry with the passage of time.

    The essential issue overlooked by many here (as is often the case in these discussions) is the TAKING and USING of these names/images WITHOUT the involvement of those peoples.

    If we think of the whole issue as one of rightful ownership of the intellectual property of the names/images and then expand that concept to include the ownership of CULTURAL IDENTITY — a much bigger and more important level of ownership — then I hope the perspectives of those of you who support (or at best don’t mind) the use of these names/images can shift away from “it’s historical and we like it” to “huh, maybe we didn’t have any right to it in the first place”.

    Finally, if we think of all mascots/monikers in these terms, it helps clear up the questions of appropriate usage a little bit. Schools or teams that work with native peoples like the examples cited above (FSU, Utah, New Zealand national teams, etc.) don’t bother me because there’s a RELATIONSHIP that’s been forged, as opposed to an appropriation of cultural identity.

    Similarly, Notre Dame’s “Fighting Irish” moniker is okay with me because though it refers to a nation and ethnicity, the major difference is that actual Irish people were REPRESENTED on the teams which earned that name. Therefore, the use of that moniker was both a point of pride for those students and then for the whole school. As far as I know, the name wasn’t APPROPRIATED by the school but rather grew from the relationship between the school and its students. (The Notre Dame mascot is a different case because it does not depict an ACTUAL human being but rather a mythical one. I’ve never heard someone identify with a leprechaun, whether he be in an aggressive stance or not.) This seems to be a fair way to both view names like “Fighting Irish” in their proper context but also judge situations where a mutually beneficial relationship isn’t evidenced.

    In the end, this whole issue, for me, comes down to the question of RIGHTFUL OWNERSHIP of the names/images and the relationship between the organizations and the native peoples whose names/images they appropriated. In the case of Indians and Redskins, neither organization can claim ownership or relationship in any credible way and their mascots/symbols CERTAINLY cannot be defended as representing those peoples in an honorable way.

    Perhaps the Cleveland and Washington organizations could still address my problem of rightful ownership/relationship with their names/images by reaching out to native peoples to craft a compromise that respects the native peoples AND the history of the organizations and their fan bases. The Washington “R” helmet with feathers seems a starting place for compromise for Washington, for example.

    As for the Indians, I think the name is less offensive than Chief Wahoo, which cannot be defended as an official mark on any terms and must be retired immediately, so I can see two ways to address the issue. My proposal for the Cleveland organization is to either keep the name “Indians” but officially adopt and utilize more frequently the alternative moniker “Tribe” — already in common use — or conversely, officially change the official moniker to “Tribe” and pay homage to “Indians” by keeping the current script “I” as a sleeve patch.

    Using “Tribe” as the official name would be an improvement because “tribe” connotes any group which bands together for common purpose — and is therefore a perfect moniker for a sports franchise — but also is a term already used and beloved by Cleveland fans. It also would fit with the script font used by Cleveland currently and opens up many C/T combinations for hats and patches.

    Sorry for going on so long but I hope this adds to the discussion!