Native American imagery under fire by NCAA

See how I used “Native American” in the headline instead of Indian…. see I can be a politically correct asshole too.

What a bunch of crap.

A small, but vocal minority of Indians claim they are being portrayed as savages, but the schools such as Florida St. (Seminoles) and University of Illinois (Fighting Illini), claim they are celebrating the great tradition and heritage of the Native American. Who is right and who is wrong?

The NCAA late last week proclaimed that Native American mascots will not be allowed to make appearances at any post season games. I live in Champaign and the topic of the Chief always gets people fired up. If any of these NCAA officials appeared at a game, I’d fear for their life. Seriously.

First of all, Chief Illiniwek is not a mascot who parades around with the cheerleading squad or does funny stuff during timeouts. He is the symbol of the school. He performs at half time of home football and basketball games. He doesn’t travel with the team. Secondly, there’s very little Chief imagery authorized by the U of I. The graphic with the Chief head with the headdress is not the official licensed image of the school anymore. Today, it is the Block I. Thirdly, the NCAA has said that the Chief and other school nicknames on the list are “hostile” and “abusive.” I’d like to see their definition of hostile and abusive and I bet many officials at those various institutions would like to see it as well. Believe me, there will be hell to pay via lawyers attacking this silly and ridiculous stance. Florida State won’t stand for it and I’d like to think that the UI will challenge the definition as well.

Look, the Chief isn’t on any official uniforms. He only performs at half time of home games. He isn’t considered a mascot in the traditional sense. Is there a Native American out there who can explain to me how a university having an Indian as their mascot for their sports teams upsets you? There’s only one nickname that I feel is definitely racist and that’s the Washington Redskins. That one probably ought to go, but “Indians,” “Braves,” etc. are fine.

If you are so upset about a sports team’s nickname, but you aren’t upset about Tomahawk missiles or Apache helicopters you need to get your priorities straightened out. The name of the state is Illinois, itself a French influence on the Indian tribe name. Shall we change the name of the state? Tell me, does Indiana offend you more than North Dakota?

This is still majority rules, right? It’s not how loud you scream that wins the day, right? You can’t just claim poor little victim and win, right? Let’s worry about more important things than what a fraternity brother in an authentic Indian ceremonial dress does at half time of a football game.