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Monday, July 6, 2020

What's In A (nick) Name? -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


One of the more common ways to refer to a sports team is by their nickname. 

There has been a lot of chatter and discussion recently about the changing of the NFL franchise Washington Redskins changing their nickname. Redskins is considered by many to be a derogatory tern referring to American Indians. So, the debate has been about changing that nickname. Red Tails, Presidents and a few other monikers have been offered to replace Redskins. The owner of the franchise, Dan Snyder, was opposed to this title change at first...but has slowly come around to the majority way of thinking.

I like Red Tails, it's a tribute to the Tuskegee trained 99th Pursuit Squadron deployed to North Africa in WW II. The planes tails were painted red to identify them. 

If you've never checked out the 2012 movie, Red Tails, I high recommend you do so. 

The Cleveland Indians is another franchise that has made some adjustments. Chief Wahoo, the pictured mascot, has been dropped. We've been accustomed to calling them "The Tribe". That'll probably go, too. 

In Atlanta, the Braves are now coming under fire for their longstanding nickname. They use an American Indian as well. Remember Chief Noc A Homa and Princess Win A Lota? They disappeared in the mid-eighties from the Atlanta ball park. They jury's still out on the Braves going with a new nickname. 

And, lastly, to sum up pro sports...where do the Kansas City Chiefs fit into all of this? 

In the ACC, there is possible controversy as well. There are 15 schools, with 15 different nicknames for their athletic programs.

How many can you name off the top of your head? 

Let's break it down for you. In the animal category, we have seven. You have Cardinals, Eagles, Panthers, Tigers, Yellow Jackets, Wolfpack and Hokies.  There's really no controversy I can see with any other these seven as mascots. The Wolfpack even got married (by the Demon Deacon) to assure all they weren't co-habituating without an official document. 

Three ACC Mascots are objects. You've got the Hurricanes (although the actual mascot is an Ibus), the Orange (that cute little roly-poly fruit) and the Tar Heels (with a ram representing them). I don't see any problems with hurt feelings or derogatory ammo here. 

That takes us to the final five in the ACC. There are five "humans" in mascot form. The Cavaliers, Demon Deacons, Blue Devils, Fighting Irish and Seminoles. 

I'm OK with Cavaliers. The official description of the "Cavalier" is a supporter of King Charles I in the English Civil War. Nothing too offensive here. The Fighting Irish mascot could maybe be stretched out to the assumption the people of Ireland like to fight a lot? That's a bit of a stretch, maybe, and I'm OK with the little green guy who dances a pretty mean Irish jig. 

Let's look at the Demon Deacons and Blue Devils. I suppose that, in purely religious philosophy, both are affronts to Christianity and other religions. I'm 99.9% sure that there are no actual "blue devils" or "demon deacons" strolling the face of our planet -- so there's no population base to upset.  

So, we end up with the Seminoles. Are the members of this proud American Indian tribe upset by the Florida State Mascot? The overwhelming response seems to be that the Seminole nation is in favor of Chief Osceola and FSU keeping the Seminole nickname.  

If there is any controversy, it could fall within  the longstanding tradition of the "war chant" and the "tomahawk chop" FSU athletic events. (The Atlanta Braves are also users of these items, as well).

You've heard the chant and seen the chop if you've ever attended a game, or watched on television or Internet that FSU (or Atlanta) has been involved in.  

Is it time to get rid of these long-standing traditions?  IAre they racist and a misrepresentation of American Indians?  Do FSU fans need to "stop the chop" and "recant the chant"? 

Like most professional athletic appropriations of Native American culture, the tomahawk chop and the war chant have little basis in Native American history. There is no indication that Native Americans ever made the gesture known today as the tomahawk chop. Tomahawks were historically not only used as weapons by Native Americans but also revered as sacred objects. Similarly, scalping—which FSU’s fight song encourages its athletes to do to their opponents—was practiced by both European settlers and Native Americans during the Colonial era, and it wasn’t widespread among Native Americans. The spread of the popular association of Native Americans with mock savagery probably dates to the early 20th century, around the time the Boy Scouts began using Native American-inspired terms and images in its curriculum.

The Atlanta Braves made a World Series appearance in 1991 - and their fans brought the tomahawk chop with them. The chop has made it into marketing encyclopedias about how to manage controversy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Chick-fil-a cow does the tomahawk chopYou can even ask Alexa to do the tomahawk chop now

Louisville Football is scheduled to host the Florida State Seminoles on Oct. 24th in Cardinal Stadium.
Over the years, I've seen FSU football fans travel in big numbers to Louisville for football games. 

Will they bring the chop and chant with them? 

Louisville women's basketball travels to Tallahassee to play in the 2020-21 schedule. Our best guess right now is sometime in late January. Will Dana, Liz, "E" and Hailey hear the chant and see the chop? 

Thoughts to consider on a Monday morning where there is little in the realm of Louisville women's athletics to report on. 

Have a marvelous Monday,


1 comment:

  1. I'm all-for the nickname changes in the pro sports. I'm OK with the FSU Seminoles. The Seminoles were a proud tribe in Florida. I could do without the "chop" and "chant" though.

    Curtis "Black Lives Matter" Franklin


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