Native American nicknames have no place in sports today

Dakota Ratley

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The age we live in is one where political correctness is everywhere. One has to constantly watch their actions in fear of hurting the feelings of another. The hot topic in the sporting world is the use of Native American mascots.

Many schools and professional teams have adopted some form of Native American imagery.

Our own school has used the nickname, “Indians.” Thank God for change. Not that I think that it’s a bad nickname, it’s actually one of the better nicknames in sports history. The problem arises when the mascot hurts the very people it is meant to honor.

Some schools have deep ties to their nickname. The obvious example is the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminole Tribe of Florida has officially sanctioned their nickname. Florida State does a lot for the tribe. However, that has not stopped controversy. Just a couple of weekends ago, College Gameday personality Lee Corso found himself in hot water for impersonating the Florida State Native American mascot Osceola. The use of Osceola is always respectful, and Corso simply played the role like a cartoon.

Many teams in professional sports have a Native American influence in their organizations. The Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins are the main offenders.

While many of these teams have moved away from a lot of their imagery, some still cling to it. Atlanta and Kansas City has retired their Native American mascots. Kansas City now uses a wolf. Cleveland and Chicago have changed their use of logos and uniforms to minimize the use of logos that may be offensive, however, they have not got rid of it entirely. Washington remains as the biggest target of criticism.

The obvious reason for the outrage is the name itself. While many people close to the Washington football team’s organization like to think of this name as one that depicts honor and courage, the fact remains, that it is playing off of a stereotype. While one could certainly understand the attachment that the organization has to its storied history, there comes a time when enough is enough.

Schools all across the nation have began to change their names in order to refrain from causing any more controversy. However, there is still change to be made. The Native American population is a proud group of people who deserve to be honored. However, there are much better way to do so than by naming a sports team after them, regardless if it was mean to pay homage to them or not. Stereotypes no longer have a place in society and no longer have a place in sport.