Thursday, August 25, 2005

Seminoles, Illini, etc.

It's good to see that sense has prevailed in the NCAA. The Florida State Seminoles will be removed 'from the list of universities banned from using what it called "hostile and abusive" mascots and nicknames during postseason play'. Florida State had the backing of the local Seminoles and those in Oklahoma.

The NCAA has said it will now handle appeals on a 'case-by-case' basis. This is a step in the right direction, but an even better idea would be to take Florida State as a model and see if other colleges and universities can work out similar arrangements with those tribes from whom they took their nicknames and mascots.

I understand that many of these nicknames and mascots were born of bigotry and racism, but most of that is gone today and the nicknames actually represent an opportunity for the tribes to get some recognition. For example, if it weren't for watching college basketball I'd have never heard of the Illini.

Objecting to names like Redskins makes sense to me, but protesting against names like Fighting Illini or Fighting Sioux seems counter-productive. The name Fighting Irish was born of bigotry, but is now a source of pride among those who are descended from the victims of that bigotry. The same should be possible for the indian tribes.