Belay that name change, matey!
I have never played organized sports. Nonetheless, I think I understand in choosing a name for a team, the idea is to intimidate your opponents. Were this not so, we’d have teams named after cute, marketable stuffed animals: The Pittsburgh Pandas; The Kansas City Kitties. You see my point; the scarier the name, the better.
That’s why I have no problem with Washington, D.C.’s, NFL team being named the Redskins. Some may view it as an ethnic slur, but the team’s owners did not call their organization “Redskins” in an effort to denigrate the people Christopher Columbus mistakenly dubbed “Indians” in 1492. They did it to scare the crap out of other teams.
Back in 1932, the image of a “Redskin” was pretty terrifying to plenty of people whose only knowledge of American Indians was gained through dime novels and cinema. In this light, it’s surprising that baseball somehow avoided having the Cleveland Custer Killers. Also in 1932, it was perfectly acceptable to call a person a kike, a dago, a hunky, a pollock or a mick – slurs based on ethnic or religious heritage. So “Redskins” was just fine. And even if it wasn’t, Indians had a small lobby.
But this is 2013, and Americans – despite feeling fine about their country’s wars against camel-jockeying terrorist towelheads – are feeling ashamed about calling names. So there’s been a clamor from some quarters to change “Redskins” to something inoffensive. So far the team’s owners were reluctant to give in and choose one of several suggested alternatives, which range from OK – Warriors – to suspect: Pigskins.Senators, Pigskins? Please! Today’s footballs are covered in cowhide. Senators? No team in its right mind would want to be associated with either house of Congress right now.
My guess is that the Redskins will not change their name any time soon, and that if they do, few will care. I certainly won’t. And until someone names a team the Short Bald Overweight German-Americans, I probably never will. But I implore the Redskins’ owners to remember when choosing a mascot that people are offended by almost everything these days. If the ’Skins owners cave in, how long will it be before someone claims that the “San Francisco Giants” defiles people taller than 6’5” by implying that they are bone-grinding, axe-wielding, eaters of peace-loving beanstalk planters? How long before the Pittsburgh Pirates become the Pittsburgh Merchant Seamen? Yar … stifle that laugh, ye scurvy lubber!
In 1997, a group successfully pressured Disney into changing its “Pirates of the Caribbean” rides by complaining that the attractions portrayed pirates as gluttonous, drunken lechers. The group said it set a poor example for children. This was long before Johnny Depp turned Capt. Jack Sparrow into a loveable – if violent, conniving, lecherous and smelly – role model. But Disney gave in, and the ride’s now-PC pirates no longer chase women because they have been at sea for months. Instead, they chase them because the women are bearing freshly baked pies.
Weight Watchers must have a lobby even weaker than the Indians’.