Recently, the NCAA passed a rule stating any school which bears a nickname that represents a minority group, such as Braves, Indians, Seminoles, can no longer use that nickname or mascot in postseason play.
The debate to change such nicknames in sports has been going on for a long time. Certain universities even changed their names out of compassion for these groups, such as the Stanford Indians changing their name to the Stanford Cardinal. This, however, is first time the NCAA, the governing body of collegiate sports, has basically stripped the school’s of their nicknames and mascots.
One particular case that falls under this new rule is the Florida State Seminoles. A Seminole is an Indian tribe that resides in the Florida area. The Seminole has been used as Florida State’s nickname and mascot since the 1940s, and the school has always kept strong ties with the tribe. The Seminoles of Florida are proud to share their name with the university and work closely with university officials to assure proper Seminole traditions and rituals are performed before football games and other major university sporting events.
However, there is a faction within a tribe of Seminoles in Oklahoma who, after 50 years, have started speaking out by saying how offended they are that Florida State University uses their name. This has started lawsuits and talks within the NCAA that inevitably ended with the decision to do away with such names in postseason play.
There are several reasons why I find this whole situation ludicrous. No matter what the nickname is, there is someone out there who will surely find it offensive. For example the University of Georgia, among several other schools, bears the nickname Bulldogs. If some crazy animal rights activist rallies a group together that comes forward and says the name “Bulldogs” is offensive to them and their pets, will it be necessary to do away with the nickname the University of Georgia has had for over 100 years? And if so, what nickname could it adopt that will satisfy everyone?
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish has been the pride of Irish people all over the country for years. Even if these people have no ties to the university at all, they cheer for the university’s teams because they feel they are paying homage to their backgrounds. What if a group of Irish people gets together and decides they find the Leprechaun mascot offensive and feel the word “fighting” gives off a bad connotation about Irish people? Does Notre Dame have to drop the name Fighting Irish to the dismay of the millions of Irish fans who have been loyal to Notre Dame for a better half of a century?
This is political correctness gone array. It is a matter of the NCAA appeasing the minority of the minorities in order to feel better about themselves or perhaps falsely attempting to make up for some unjust actions that took place in the past.
Lets take an even closer look at the root of the issue. Where can we find the beginning of all this hysteria? Your answer: White lawyers claming to do pro bono work, who are actually looking to make a name and garner headlines for themselves as the ultimate champion of civil rights.
How do I get off making this statement? I’ve been to Native American reservations before. I have seen the kids in these reservations wearing Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians hats. Upon seeing this, I asked my Native American friend, “I thought you guys were offended by that stuff?” He replied that all his Native American friends feel a sense of pride from these names, but it’s the few “squeaky wheels that get the grease.”
I witnessed a few other things while on the reservation. Simply put, the nicknames of professional and college sports teams are the least of these people’s worries. Throughout the reservation, I observed alcoholism, poverty, illiteracy, and an overall low standard of living. If these “civil rights” lawyers actually cared to help these people, they would go about trying to pass legislation to help Native Americans improve their quality of life, rather than attacking a trivial subject such as teams who use Indians as their nicknames.
I fear we are walking a slippery slope. By having the NCAA pass rules that seem to infringe on first Amendment rights and choose to listen to the outspoken minority rather than the silent majority, we are losing our grasp on freedom and democracy. We are putting ourselves in a position where we are going to be afraid to speak for fear we might offend someone. Since when in the United States has it been okay for an outside source to regulate what we want to represent? That is exactly what is happening at Florida State and other universities across the country.
In the words of rapper Eminem:
“You find me offensive?
I find you offensive,
for finding me offensive.”