As I get older, I can’t tell if I’m getting soft, getting smarter, or both.
I was always one of those people who wasn’t bothered by the use of American Indian imagery and slang for team logos and nicknames. I went to school at St. Cloud State University (the Harvard of the Midwest), which was in a hockey conference with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
The Fighting Sioux nickname has been debated endlessly in North Dakota and Minnesota for years. Some say it’s offensive to American Indians and should be scrapped. Others say it’s honorable and should be kept.
In college, I proudly supported keeping the Fighting Sioux nickname. I was the guy at parties who had one too many Keystone Lights and got into fierce political debates. When someone said that the Fighting Sioux nickname should be changed, I would shout them down while cracking open another can of Keystone.
I’ve grown up a lot since then. Most importantly, I now drink good beer, not Keystone Light. Almost as importantly, I now hate American Indian team logos and nicknames.
The Fighting Sioux nickname is bad enough, but nothing gets me going more than the Washington Redskins.
I mean, seriously. The Redskins?! How is it ok to name your team after an obvious racial slur? The fact that our nation’s capital still refers to its professional football team as the Redskins in the year 2013 makes me embarrassed to be a football fan.
Nicknames like the Braves, Fighting Illini or Fighting Sioux are questionable enough, but at least they aren’t blatant racial slurs.
Of course the people in my life who knew me during my pro-offensive-Native American-nickname days are stunned by my change of heart. They ask me when I became so politically correct, why I turned into a weak-ass liberal, or why I care either way.
I tell them it’s got nothing to do with being PC, and it sure as hell has nothing to do with liberal or conservative politics.
To me, my change of heart had to do with two things: 1) First and foremost, common decency. I would never walk up to an American Indian and call him or her a “redskin.” Therefore, to me, it’s only common decency that we shouldn’t refer to a sports team as the Redskins. 2) Using nicknames like the Redskins makes us appear stupid. Do people really understand what the word “Redskin” means? They should, but they probably don’t. According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 12 percent of high school seniors were proficient in American history and only 2 percent could identify the social problem addressed by the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
Do football fans want to be known as a group of people who chug Keystone Light and yell at others about words they don’t understand?
Maybe I am turning soft. But if being soft means not using racial slurs to identify our sports teams, then call me a marshmallow.
Packers News, Notes and Links
- Thanks for everything, Charles Woodson.
- Greg Jennings spoke on the NFL Network and didn’t sound like a guy who thought he’d be returning to the Packers. He also said that football is a business, and that he’d be open to playing for the Vikings. For some reason, people got mad at Jennings for his Vikings remark. Chill out, people. Jennings is right. It is a business. If Jennings ends up in purple, it’d be a totally different situation that when Brett Favre put on the Helga horns. A big part of Favre’s motivation was sticking it to the Packers. Sure, Jennings will want to prove to the Packers that they made a mistake, but revenge would not be his ultimate motive.
- John Rehor at Packerstalk.com has high hopes for the 2014 Packers hall of fame class. Brett Favre, Donald Driver and Ahman Green all going in at the same time would be quite the ceremony. Something tells me the Packers might not want to induct all three of these guys at once — all of Wisconsin would overdoes on Packers memories — but if they did, it’d be awesome.
- Devin Shanley at Acme Packing Co. takes a look at Mike McCarthy. It’s a great breakdown, and very fair. I’d like to know about McCarthy’s role in the defense. Obviously, McCarthy’s expertise is offense, but that doesn’t mean he should just leave the defensive side of the ball to his assistants. I’m not saying that’s what McCarthy does, but sometimes I’d like to see him be a bit more forceful and insightful when asked defensive questions.
Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense
- Everyone should read this story about “The Shooter,” the Navy Seal who killed Osama bin Laden. It’s a fascinating read that touches on everything from the raid to healthcare benefits for veterans. If you want to know more about the healthcare benefits angle of the story, read this. The Shooter’s claims of getting “nothing” from the government after leaving service are not 100 percent true. Nonetheless, read the story. It’s great.
- I’m going to this on Monday and I can’t wait. “Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.”
- Even if you’re sick of the coverage Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday is getting, read this piece on Jordan by Wright Thompson, anyway. It’s that good.
- Friday Night Lights fans know how awesome Connie Britton is. For the rest of you, read this.