NCAA Bans Indian Mascots in Postseason Play

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From the Wash Times:

The NCAA banned the use of American Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments, but will not prohibit them otherwise.

The NCAA executive committee decided this week the organization did not have the authority to bar Indian mascots by individual schools, committee Chairman Walter Harrison said yesterday.

Nicknames or mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" would not be allowed on team uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, said Mr. Harrison, president of the University of Hartford.

"What each institution decides to do is really its own business" outside NCAA championship events, he said. "What we are trying to say is that we find these mascots to be unacceptable for NCAA championship competition."

At least 18 schools have mascots the NCAA deems "hostile or abusive," including Florida State's Seminole and Illinois' Fighting Illini. In fact, the state of Illinois is named for the same tribe, and the names of a majority of the 50 states are of Indian origin. Others banned are the Utes of Utah, the Chippewas of Eastern Michigan and the Indians of Arkansas State and the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Whole story here.

A few things to consider before the ritual bashing of P.C. begins:

Most Indian-derived school nicknames are of relatively recent (read the 1920s-'50s) origin, so it's not exactly like these monickers were handed down by Moses. The relationship can in fact be pretty convoluted: Dartmouth, for instance, has a longstanding connection to Indians; its 19th century sports nickname was "Big Green," which was changed in the 20th century to the Indian before reverting back to the color (that "the Big" in Dartmouth name is wishful thinking, even in the J.V. playground that is the Ivy League, is neither here nor there).

Some schools using names such as "Braves" or "Warriors" will not face sanctions, either because they've got high percentages of Indian students and/or don't use native American imagery in their logos, etc.

The Florida State Seminole situation is interesting: FSU has permission from the Sunshine State's tribe members both for its team name and its full-Indian-regalia mascot, which you would think make the situation kosher. But non-Florida-based Seminoles object, thus the school's inclusion on the NCAA's forbidden list. This seems dubious at best.

Common sense dictates that there's some difference between some names (e.g. Southeastern Oklahoma State University's Savages) and others (e.g. the University of Utah's Utes).

Miami University of Ohio went through a controversial but relatively painless name change in the late '90s, from the Redskins to the (lame) Redhawks. Miami, named in 1809 for the tribe that was effectively run out by European settlers, has maintained tight relations with the tribe (one assumes it became easier to be friendly once the natives had been resettled to Oklahoma). For a long time, the tribe publicly supported the use of the Redskins name, even deeming it an honor. Later, they petitioned for the change, writing to the school in 1996 that "society changes, and what was intended to be a tribute is no longer perceived as positive."

"The Fighting Irish" is not equivalent to anything related to native American mascot names, for at least two reasons. First off, the apparent inventors of the term were themselves Irish and in all my years as a son of Hibernia, I've never heard any Irishman or woman complain about it or the school's Darby O'Gill and the Little People-like mascot. Second, everyone, even and perhaps especially Catholics, hates Notre Dame, and not simply because Regis Philbin went there. And while I am not even authorized to speak for the other Irish and semi-Irish on Reason's staff (a plurality, if not more, including Alissi, Cavanaugh, Doherty, Howley,
Walker, and, of course, everyone on St. Patrick's Day), much less the Molly Maguires of the greater United States, let me proactively suggest we give it a rest that the Irish in America ever faced something equivalent to the experience of blacks or Indians, despite the best efforts of desperate minds.

NEXT: Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Historian (Windbag Journo Edition)

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  1. It is interesting that the school has the blessing of the local Seminole tribe. I think it would be more interesting if the school offered scholarships to this tribe for the use of their tribal name. To me that sounds fair. Naming a team after a tribe, I think, could be a tribute. It is a fine line.

    It is shocking to me that the Washington Redskins are still able to use an ethnic slur as a moniker. They will always be the Potamac Basin Indigenous Peoples to me. Hat tip to TMQ.

    -Nicanor

  2. they don’t have permission of the Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma. It seems FSU only wants to be associated with the Seminole Tribe of Florida because they are the ones who were “unconquered”. Oklahoma Seminoles have said they do not like FSU’s use of the mascot. Maybe FSU doesn’t care about what the Oklahoma tribe says because those Seminoles were led to OK in chains….kinda ruins the myth.

  3. I do not know the deatils, but I belive that there is a revenue sharing agreement between FSU and the seminole tribe of florida for the revenues from sales of “seminole” branded goods. If this is true, then it could be as simple as the Oklahoma tirbe wants a cut.

  4. I’ve seen polls suggesting that most Indians actually don’t care; certainly I (entitled to membership in both the Choctaw and Cherokee Nations) don’t see any reason to object to white people using Indians as objects of obsessive, totem-like veneration as symbols of athletic prowess, power and warrior viture.

  5. I am not even authorized to speak for the other Irish and semi-Irish on Reason’s staff (a plurality, if not more, including Alissi, Cavanaugh, Doherty, Howley, Walker, and, of course, everyone on St. Patrick’s Day)

    I’m actually “Scots-Irish,” which in practice probably means northern England. That wing of the family has been in Tennessee for a century or two anyway, so there’s no connection to the oppressed Irish-Americans. It’s the Jewish side of Clan Walker-Blum that has a stake in the oppression sweepstakes. (Though even there we’re easily outclassed. My Jewish great-grandparents fled the czar and the Austro-Hungarian draft. My wife’s grandparents fled Hitler. Game, set, match.)

  6. Nic,
    FSU does offer scholarships to Florida Seminoles. They are also in the process of creating a Seminole Museum on campus, not to mention the giant Seminole monumnet that sits on campus. I don’t see what the opinion of the Oklahoma Seminoles has to do with anything. FSU is named after the Florida Seminoles- ie, the decendnats of the small band of Seminoles (estimated at about 200-300) who refused to surrender to the US government and survived in the swamps of South Florida for over a century. They intermarried freely with runaway slaves and outlaw whites who joined their tribe. So they are culturally, historically, and ethnically distinct from their cousins in Oklahoma. It absolutely absurd to suggest that the Oklahoma Seminoles should have any say over what FSU and the Florida Seminoles deem appropriate.

  7. Several ago, the leaders of the Cherokees in North Carolina spoke out in favor of Indian mascots, a postion they admitted may be influenced by the fact they manufacture Indian paraphenelia for sports teams, including all those foam tomahawks sold at Atlanta Braves games.

    One of their leaders said a welfare line is more degrading that the word Redskins.

  8. Hey, nothing like a Saturday morning for a pointless rant/whine so here goes:
    OK, we Irish (I’m mixed Irish-Scot-Viking,i.e a drunk who rapes and pilliages while wearing a skirt)can’t claim the same oppression that African slaves or natives can the amount we did face was hardly insubstantial. Also, we did suffer a thousand years of oppression, genocide and mass starvation prior to getting here.
    Next, even if the “Fightin’ Irish” and the drunken prick they use for a mascot was created by a fellow mick they didn’t ask for my input on the matter. Would anyone claim the “Spankin’ Spics” would be acceptable as long as a hispanic person invented the name 50 years ago?
    Next, is it really disrepectful to base a name on the warrior caracteristics of a culture? I have no problem with teams drawing their names from Viking or Highlander themes. A football team should have an aggressive name. It’s footbal fer chisssakes. It’s not for the sensitive.
    Most importantly, why do we pretend this really matters? If you really think that team names are the biggest problem faced by native tribes then you are the truly insensitive one.

  9. We ought to get PETA involved, and really mess things up.

    Meanwhile, as an American of Texas extraction, I’ll continue to boycott the Dallas Cowboys (admittedly more due to a massive disinterest in professional football than actual outrage.)

    And as a proud graduate of Texas A&M University I’ll continue to respond to Aggie jokes, omnipresent in this part of the world, the most effective way possible. By helping build a tradition surrounding former students that’s impossible to disrespect.

  10. …the Chippewas of Eastern Michigan…

    I think they mean the Chippewas of Central Michigan. Eastern Michigan changed its nickname from the Hurons to the Eagles in the early 1990’s.

  11. Based on Nick’s logic at the end, though, would we tolerate a predominantly black school’s decision to chose a mascot such as the “Fightin’ Niggaz”? Just a question.

  12. NCAA, myob! The NCAA apparently has too much power. It seems insulting to American Indians that the NCAA assumes that they can’t recognize sports names that are simply evocative of past historical aggressive practices and would believe instead that they are “hostile or abusive”. Imagine the NFL banning the Viking mascot in the playoffs for the reason that the large Scandinavian population of Minnesota finds it “hostile or abusive”!!

    Some schools using names such as “Braves” or “Warriors” will not face sanctions, either because they’ve got high percentages of Indian students …

    The hypocrisy of this PC nonsense! Shame on the NCAA!

  13. These people are proof that decades of leftist controlled public education, er indoctrination, works.

    Some schools using names such as “Braves” or “Warriors” will not face sanctions, either because they’ve got high percentages of Indian students and/or don’t use native American imagery in their logos, etc.

    There is one specific school exempted because 20% of the students are Indian. But if it’s 81% of a school that ain’t Indian, we got a bad case of bigotry on our hands.

    I read the list of names, and with the exception of the Carthage Redmen and the Okie State Savages, all the rest are the Braves, the Indians, the Warriors, or a tribal name. Since many tribes, like the Papago, have kicked the Anglicized tribal name to the curb anyway, who cares if a school uses a tribal name? (Ok, so there isn’t any college screaming that they’re the Fighting Papago, but you get my drift).

    With all the unending scandals and other assorted problems inherent in the NCAA it seems bizarre for the committe to hang its hat on Indian names.

    These people remind me of the crazy guy whose entire daily routine consisted of lying naked on his bunk while balancing a cashew on the end of his stiffie. Whenever anyone would ask him why he’d tell them that he was “Fucking Nuts”.

  14. Besides, according to my son’s 4th grade teacher, they’re not Indians anyway, they’re Original Californians or Native Americans. They’d have a beef it was the UCLA Original Californians or the Illinois State Native Americans, but since that ain’t the case, we have to, at the very least, remove Indian from the list of facist, running dog, bigoted names that were chosen by mean old (dead) white-male schools.

  15. Maybe they should change their name to the Utah Youths.

  16. Mrs TWC is 75% Mick and 25% Indian. She isn’t offended by drunk Irish jokes or Indian mascots. Why? Because she never sweats the small stuff.

    can’t claim the same oppression that African slaves or natives can the amount we did face was hardly insubstantial.

    Eryk, true enough given that Irish immigrants were routinely hired to do the dangerous crap that would put an expensive slave’s life at risk.

    Dogs, Sailors, & Irish Keep Off The Grass Regards, TWC

  17. As an Irish-American, I’m waiting for the Boston NBA team to change its insulting use of the caricature Irishman for its “Celtics” logo.

  18. P.C. gets affected by distance in time. I have heard of — and I am sure I am retelling it with wrong details but the story is true — a case where a public service message on Irish television began with screaming villagers running from a burning thatched-roof settlement while horned Viking marauders axed and pillaged and slaughtered in the town. At the end, a message came up something like:

    “The Norwegian Chamber of Commerce: Honoring 1000 Years of Doing Business in Ireland”.

    The British couldnt get away with that, yet.

  19. For a less PC (except for my sell-out upfront apology) and a more personally self-promoting look at Irish heritage in America, including their (our) contributions to America of police brutality, municipal corruption, and political media loudmouths (O’Reilly/Hannity etc), go here (section on Gaelic for dilletantes only):

    http://www.hoganzeroes.blogspot.com/2003_03_17_hoganzeroes_archive.html

  20. I object to the humiliating caricature of our people by universities such as Michigan State!

    “Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
    That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.”

  21. John P.: not exactly an equivalent comparison, since “Irish” clearly isn’t an ethnic slur. If Notre Dame called themselves the “Fightin’ Micks”, then your analogy might apply

    better to ask can a school with a predominantly black student body call itself the “Fightin’ Negroids” or “Fightin’ African Descendants”, something like that

    for the record, my ancestry is Irish, Anglo, and German (supposedly with a few Native Americans in there somewhere, according to family legend)

    my favorite mascot: the University of Northern Colorado “Fightin’ Whites”
    their motto: “Everythang’s going to be all white!”

    http://www.cafepress.com/fightinwhite

  22. People who get worked up about how awful Native American related sports team names are need to choose a more important cause.
    Of course, fans get worked up about their favorite teams. Maybe it should be OK for football teams to have unPC names if they do well. If they don’t, they go through an embarrassing name change.

  23. People who get worked up about how awful Native American related sports team names are need to choose a more important cause.
    Of course, fans get worked up about their favorite teams. Maybe leagues should allow football teams to have unPC names if they do well. If they don’t, the league would require themto go through an embarrassing name change… or maybe then the rules would be as complicated as which NFL teams get into the playoffs.

  24. Mr. Bobo

    I dont get too worked up over the cause, but when the issue is raised, as it often is here in the home of the Redskins, I’m all for changing the name. My suggestion: Given that many more african americans live in D.C. than indians, we could change to mascot to a leopardskin-cladded Zulu, bone in nose, spear in hand. Have him jump around the sidelines wiht the clicks, clacks, and warcries endemic to that culture. Then modify the name ever so slightly to the Washington Blackskins. Surely one who is not offended by the color red wont be offended by the color black. I cant imagine on for whom a well armed snarling Zulu on the sidelines encroaches ones goodsense no more than a histrionic red-face waving an axe. Can you?

  25. Jesse Walker,
    I had meant to ask you weeks ago, but my greatx4-grandfather, James Gallaher, was buried near Jonesboro, Tennessee, in 1792. His neighbors were the Gillespies. (Not related to Nick. I had asked him a few years ago.)
    Did your ancestors happen to have any Tennessee connections near there?
    At the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park neaby, they keep a file on Gallaher descendents doing genealogy digging.
    I have a distant cousin whose middle name is Crockett.

  26. NCAA, myob! The NCAA apparently has too much power.

    Er . . . as a libertarian, I cannot find myself getting too incensed over the NCAA telling its members — all of whom are voluntary members — what things can and cannot be done at NCAA-sponsored, -sanctioned, and -paid for events. If any teams don’t like it, they can refuse to participate in the events, or quit the NCAA and start a competing sanctioning and supervisory organization. Right? Isn’t that the kind of thing we’re supposed to support? Does not the NCAA, as a private organization, have the right to set the rules to which its members must adhere and the conditions under which it will do business?

    So, really, the NCAA is minding its business; nothing it does here can possibly affect non-NCAA members.

    I also noted this in the article:

    Major college football teams also would not be subjected to the new rules because there is no NCAA Division I-A tournament or playoff.

    Well. There it is, then. It hardly matters at all, as a practical matter.

    Based on Nick’s logic at the end, though, would we tolerate a predominantly black school’s decision to chose a mascot such as the “Fightin’ Niggaz”

    Who’s “we?”

  27. To make the hypotheical a little less hypotherical- the nickname of the Compton High School athetlic teams is the tarbabies. Given that this is Comptio, CA it is safe to assume it is a very african-american school. It is a high school so it is out of the NCAA’s jurisdiction, but I doubt they would let it stand unless the University of Carolina-Pemboke exception applies. (That is the school that is 20% NA so is allowed to call itself the braves)

  28. Biologist, of course Fighting Irish is an ethnic slur. We ain’t talking about war fighting we’re talking about what Irish do when their drunk and everybody knows that Irish men are drunk any time they ain’t at work.

  29. I propose the schools pick names that more accurately reflect their values.

    The Struggling Workers.

    The Proletarian Dictators.

    The Multicultural Supporters (there’s a “jock” joke in there, somewhere).

    You get the picture. Make up some of your own.

  30. everyone, even and perhaps especially Catholics, hates Notre Dame

    Hey! I’d offer a token objection, but I just got here and I’m freakin’ tired. By the way, mad props to Rick Barton for hosting me for a night as I drove from LA to South Bend.

  31. Southeastern Oklahoma State University has a 30% Native American student body, by the way. Thank god the NCAA is there to shake them out of their self-loathing.

  32. “…let me proactively suggest we give it a rest that the Irish in America ever faced something equivalent to the experience of blacks or Indians, despite the best efforts of desperate minds.”

    That may be true, but if so it’s unfortunate because unlike blacks or Indians, the Irish actually are an inferior mongrel race. Down with the Irish! Go home to Irishland! A wiser man than myself put it best:

    “All right, we’ll give some land to the niggers and the chinks, but we DON’T WANT THE IRISH!!!”

  33. Mo,
    We are naturally curious about the definition of the word, “hosting.”

    “By the way, mad props to Rick Barton for hosting me for a night as I drove from LA to South Bend.”

    Jarod,
    You are not that ugly fool in the Subway sammich commercials are you? No. Nowhere near as cool.

  34. Regis Philbin makes Touchdown Jesus cry.

  35. What is it with Regis?
    He’s the guy who bailed out a network with “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

    And who is Touchdown Jesus?

    Forgive me, Mary, for I am old, not to mention I used to sin.
    How old are you, BTW? Need a little vaginal “ointment” from time to time up there do we?

  36. It was George Carlin who made the observation…. “The Fighting Irish? Where are the Bargaining Jews or the Mobster Italians?”

  37. Thanks Ed Walsh,
    Now I’m starting to get my Irish up.

  38. Phil,

    Yeah, with the NCAA, the “power” exercised is different and less onerous than with a government agency. Although, we might be in a grey area here if the NCAA gets much of its funds in the form of taxpayer’s dollars. Anyway, it’s ok for us libertarians to complain about the obnoxious behavior of totally private organizations too. But not on principle, as we do with the usually far more egregious actions of government.

    Mo,

    You’re quite welcome and good luck to you in your grad studies at Notre Dame.

    Mo is every bit as interesting and nice of a guy in person as you would guess from reading him on these threads.

    Ruthless,

    I think that you probably have a twisted mind but that’s ok since that’s been my surmise for some time now. 🙂

  39. Ruthless is definately twisted. He indicates that Regis Philbin saving ABC was a good thing, for one.

  40. Ruthless-

    Touchdown Jesus is a famous, very large mosaic at Notre Dame’s campus* that is visible from the football stadium.

    *Easily the most beautiful college campus I’ve seen.

  41. I don’t think having a team name/mascot that calls out my heritage is degrading (I’m Irish and have a drink in my hand to prove it) but I may be wrong. Maybe hearing “The Braves scored!” does cause discomfort for the red skinned among us. If having a team mascot named after you is degrading then I say we degrade those who ‘deserve’ degrading. How about:

    The Drunk Drivers (The crowd could do the Swerve and Crash instead of the Wave.)

    The Smokers (Hand to Mouth action instead of the “Tomahawk Chop”)

    The Drinkers (See The Smokers)

    The Pot Heads (The Giggle, Laugh and find Munchies wave)

    The Obese Ones (The Sit and Eat)

    Think of the anguish these team names and mascots will cause to these people. Every time the Smokers and Drinkers play against each other those who smoke and/or drink will feel the need to quit. When the Drunk Drivers score against the Pot Heads the announcer may say something like “The Drunk Drivers flat out ran over the Pot Heads who still don?t know what hit them!” Think of the shame and degradation this will cause the drunk drivers and pot heads of America. I think the team mascots would be fun to watch as well!

  42. Based on Nick’s logic at the end, though, would we tolerate a predominantly black school’s decision to chose a mascot such as the
    “Fightin’ Niggaz”? Just a question.

    I would support a school’s right to do whatever it wants,
    but let’s be realistic, would a school
    actually chose that name for a mascot?
    As has been said so many times before, you don’t chose a mascot to hate.

  43. Its funny that the Indians never thought to be offended by any of this till the PC whackos told them they were supposed to be.

  44. Fight on, fight on
    ’til you have won
    sons of Washington
    Rah! Rah! Rah!

  45. …I understand that in the case of my beloved Redskins, they’re trying to take away our trademark protection.

  46. Let’s cheer for the Fighting Whities of the University of Northern Colorado.

  47. Indians come from India.

    There was a local school issue here, the mascot name…”Indians”, with a traditional white man picure of a head dress attempting to depict a first americian head.

    The leading voice supporting the mascot was a local Jewish activist, she compared the name this way…she believed the fighting hebrews would be good too.

    One year later I was invited to passover at a friends house (no I’m not jewish). She was a cousin, and was always there.

    I asked her “Since Indians come from India, and using that term to refer to peoples who lived on the North American for several thousand years, is a bit low IQ, would you agree to changing the name, rather than to the fighting hebrews, to the fighting “K**kes”?”

    Withing the year she had changed her opinion on that, and the team name was changed to Wolves.

    When, oh when will we see a team named the fighting mic’s, or the dirty dago’s? Maybe the stinky spaniards, or the bad teeth brits?

    I hope soon. Really, wouldn’t that be cool.

    I call for an end to PC! It would mean much cooler team names.

  48. My loyalty is with my Broncos. But I think that the proudest name in professional sports is the Patriots-named after the heroes that planned and fought the libertarian revolution that gave birth to our republic.

    That our government in exact Orwellian doublespeak fashion gave that act, that runs counter to the values of the revolution and of our republic, the sane name does nothing to diminish its stature.

  49. “You are not that ugly fool in the Subway sammich commercials are you? No. Nowhere near as cool.”

    He is ugly, isn’t he? lol

    Not to pick on him for something he had no control over, but when i have to see him on my TV screen blabbing bout his loss of blubber, I get sad for America

    “Eat our sandwiches and you won’t be a fatass!”

    Only in the US of A is that a viable ad (maybe canada, too)

  50. …make that: “that *Act* that runs counter…”

  51. Mo-

    Welcome to grad school! Just remember that your thesis advisor may be a decent person, and he means well, but if he seems completely useless it’s because the only way to escape is to do something that he didn’t think of.

  52. As someone who keys cars, spray paints the side of buildings, and destroys mailboxes with a baseball bat, I’m offended by the Vandals of the University of Idaho. As if a real vandal has time to run around a field fighting over a ball, when there are still a few railroad boxcars with no paint on them.

  53. anyone aware of any teams named the Visigoths, fighting or otherwise?

    I’d like to see the Visigoths and Vandals go head-to-head, with the Vikings taking on the winners

  54. Is there a team named Taggers?
    I’m no sports fan.
    (I do enjoy Tiger Woods when he’s in top form, and those succulent ladies from Russia playing tennis. Oh yes, and the tall sand volleyball players in the bikinis. Where was I now?)

  55. One goofy post leads to another.
    Seems a guy was bemoaning the fact his wife was constantly back-seat-driving and otherwise micro-managing his life.
    His close friend responded, “Sounds like you married a nagger.”
    First guy answers, “No. She’s a white woman.”

  56. Didn’t the NCAA make Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi for you yankees) get rid of their Confederate flag waving cracker mascot? “A victory for political correctness wrapped up in a huge loss for truth in advertising” would accurately describe that event.

  57. The Forgotten Anti-Catholic Nickname:

    The Orangemen of Syracuse University

    The school was founded by Methodists, which I suppose is the origin of the anti-Catholic name. The mascot is Otto, the orange. Of course, oranges do not grow in upstate New York when its below zero degrees and there’s three feet of snow.

    xieta_IP@hotmail.com
    SU Class of 2000

  58. A good litmus test for if a name is offensive just use it when talking to someone. Or just look up Redskin in the dictionary.

    For instance you could walk into “O’Flanigan’s” Bar and say “How’s it going you lot of fighting Irish” and not many would care. But you wouldn’t get a warm reception if you went to a reservation and said “What’s up Chief”, “Hiya Redskins”, Or “Hey brave can I get frybread here?”.

    Also at Notre Dame games they don’t chant mock Catholic incantations as a “cheer” Florida State does for NA. Not that many first nations people get that worked up because there are a couple more pressing issues they have to deal with.

    Also it has been mentioned the NCAA isn’t “banning” anything it simply will not sanction the participation of teams in a post season that the NCAA is paying for. The NCAA pays teams to play in the post season (Gives a percentage of the TV revenue), the NCAA rents the venue (think Hoosier dome Final Four tournament) and negotiates the teams of the television contract. If a school wants to keep its name it could continue to do so. They just can’t participate in a post season, if they that upset they could join the NAIA.

    As far as I know the NCAA is entirely private and funded either through television and admissions fees. There might be user fees from public institutions but that’s about it. If a private entity wants to make rules for events it pays for, so be it.

    Also for the Washington Redskins, the PTO’s Trial Trademark and Appeal Board took away Trademark protection for the 6 Redskin TM held. Read (Section 2(a) Trademark Act 15 U.S.C 1502(a))for trademarking “Immoral or Scandalous Matter”. The team appealed the decision, and a Federal Judge threw out the PTO board’s decision, giving the TM protection back to the team. The primary basis for the judges decision was the offended group waited too long from the time of trademarking to file a grievance with the PTO.

    Is the “Redskin” logo better or worse then a dog pooping (Greyhound Corp. v. Both Worlds Inc., 6 USPQ2d 1635, 1639 (TTAB 1988)? Its not an unusual practice for people to try to strip TM protection on the grounds of Immoral or Scandalous Matter. There was another case where “Black Tail” was ruled non Immoral or Scandalous because there are a host of definitions for “Tail”.

  59. Don,
    The NCAA did not have anything to do with what happened at Ole Miss. Their former football coach was the one who requested that students and fans confine the confederate flags to the Grove area outside of the stadium (he felt that other schools were unfairly using this tarnish his program in the eyes of black recruits). I think the University helped him out by banning sticks and flagpoles from going inside the gates which ultimately solved the problem. Johnny Reb, the aging, Colonel Sanders looking dandy, was retired in an attempt to update the image of the mascot. The univerisity then held a contest to replace him (one of the choices was a younger, steroid enhanced version of Johhny Reb- the other resembled Mr. Clean) but a popular uprising caused them to reverse course and the situtition is still in limbo. I think it is telling that ridiculous caricatures like Johhny Reb and that drunk fighting leprechon (which are spoofs on Southerners and Irishmen respectively) are just fine and dandy but a straight mascot that has the support of the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida isn’t. Apparently the NCAA feels Indians, unlike Southerners and Irishmen, are too stupid to know when they are being insulted or not.

  60. Given that this is Comptio, CA it is safe to assume it is a very african-american school.

    Here is a shock. I was talking to Mrs. TWC yesterday about this, LOL at Tar Babies, and she happens to be doing some research on Compton schools right now. She told me that these days in many Compton schools hispanics outnumber blacks and in at least 4 schools are the majority. I said “Say What?”

  61. I thought the Vandals wuz a biker gang.

  62. Chief Wahoo gets his hatin’ too. Whenever the Indians used to lose (frequently when i was a kid), the graphic would be a beaten up chief wahoo with a broken bat.

    Hamilton Continentals… people didn’t like that name because it glorified “white male oppressive eurocentricism”. or something like that. We just liked throwing oranges at hockey games. the sissies from williams didn’t wanna play us anymore. (snicker)

    Jesse – i thought you were scotch-romanian…

    xieta – condolonces for living in central ny. at least saranac is a tasty brew. the orange is the weakest mascot around. even Mr. Met could kick its ass 🙂

    Mo – try the brewpub in south bend! And remember the glory of the Hoosier state. another pejorative name – someone who was fleeing kentucky but ran out of money before they reached michigan.

    TWC: sounds like you were channeling Little Arnold again…

  63. The real question here is, why even have “team mascots” at all? Wouldn’t it just make more sense for semi-professional teams (i.e. high-school and college) to just go by the school name and professional teams to go directly to corporate sponsorship?

    I can see it now, the 2009 Super Bowl: Microsoft vs. Honda….

  64. Which safety school did you end up attending, Nick? BC?

  65. My suggestion for those complaining about the Redskins name: raise the money and buy the team, and then change the name to whatever you want. If you think you can boycott or pressure Dan Snyder to change the name, fine. But getting the gubbimint involved is crap. The PTO should NOT be enforcing “decency” rules in trademark protection. Period.

    Personally, I would change the name of the Redskins to the Fighting Objectivists, with a caricature of a *very angry* Ayn Rand on the helmet, but that’s just me… 🙂

    As far as the NCAA goes, why do publicly funded universities have semi-professional sports teams, anyway? Is that a wise use of my tax dollars?

  66. I can understand ‘squaw’ being derogatory since it is equivalent to calling a woman ‘slut’, but how does ‘redskin’ differ from ‘black’ or ‘colored people’, terms used as in ‘Democratic Black Caucus’ and NAACP?

    Why doesn’t the NCAA just be honest — they don’t like American Indians, and they’d like to eliminate all references to them. They want to just pretend that the Indians never existed; they don’t want any Indians ever being honored by having a school take an Indian name as a mascot.
    Maybe they’d like to have the Utah Utes renamed the Utah Custers — wouldn’t that be great?

  67. For a major college or NFL team to change its team name is a massively expensive proposition. The direct costs alone would probably run into the millions, when you consider all the merchandise, the signs, all the kajillions of things that have the logo on it.

    My proposal is that any group that wants a major team to change its name should first pony up the money to pay for it.

    Why should the taxpayers or owner(s) have to foot the bill to make them feel better about something so completely trivial?

  68. I thought the whole point of sports nicknames was to make them sound atagonistic or a way to turn ridicule (like Yankee) into a source of pride.

    Or course, the Washington Senators always sucked, and rightly so.

  69. By the way, Nick G., there is one group of Irish Catholics who LOVE Notre Dame: Midwestern Irish Catholics who never went to college. I’ve seen way too many of them. They crowd the popular pubs in Ireland during tourist season, and fill up the booths at Bennigans during football season. I’ve learned not to go there.

  70. Dedskin:

    no kidding. chicagoland is full of ’em. and the bullshit about the “scholar athletes” there. and tell me that canning Tyrone wasn’t about race (bob davies and gerry faust were probably worse coaches)… those “subway fans” are enough to drive one crazy. and they think that EVERYBODY cares about ND. sheesh.

    don’t even get me started on gun control, kyoto, or the whales……
    (or the banning of polyester-based merkins)

  71. I thought the whole point of sports nicknames was to make them sound atagonistic or a way to turn ridicule (like Yankee) into a source of pride.

    Which is why my favorite team name in sports is the Pittsburgh Pirates, and my favorite symbol the White Elephant of the Philadelphia/Oakland Athletics.

  72. Why shouldn’t “Savages” get the same pass as “Warriors” so long as ethnic imagery is not used?

  73. ChrisO,
    The PTO (the only government agency fully funded by user fees, and making a tidy profit to boot) is usually pretty loose with “Immoral or Scandalous Matter” standard, the case law on the immoral standard is nearly zero and especially non-exsistant for the last 50 years.

    The statute is as follows:

    Extract from 15 U.S.C. ?1052. No trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it–
    (a) Consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute; or a geographical indication which, when used on or in connection with wines or spirits, identifies a place other than the origin of the goods and is first used on or in connection with wines or spirits by the applicant on or after one year after the date on which the WTO Agreement (as defined in section 2(9) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act) enters into force with respect to the United States.

    The PTO serves to protect property (one of the few legitimate functions of government) doesn’t coerce people into being PC. There is no reason you can’t have a team called the “Redskins” but you can’t claim a racist, or misleading tradename as your property, with all rights inherent with that property.

    A similar concept is that of libel to free speech. Reason can’t publish and make money selling the story “sources confirm George Bush tried to fuck a football for an hour last night” if in fact no one saw or reported that to them:)

  74. Dakota, defamation law and the grant of authority to act as a censor on the trademarks it will register are two totally different things.

    Rejecting a potentially misleading trademark is one thing–in fact, prevention of such is the entire point of trademark law. However, what the fuck does “immoral” or “scandalous” matter have to do with whether something can be trademarked? If I wanted to open a specialty food store called “Fucking Nuts”, I would probably not be very commercially savvy in doing so, but why should the PTO care about the unsavoriness of the name? In fact, short of an obscene name, I argue that the statute you cited violates the First Amendment, though I’m sure there is crappy case law to the contrary.

    As to defamation law, that is a private cause of action for which real, economic damage must be shown, which has nada to do with the PTO acting as a board of censorship. Which is the chilling effect of their power to bar registration of “immoral” marks. Immorality and scandal have nothing to do with whether a mark is misleading.

  75. While we’re at it, let’s make Purdue change its mascot too! Just think of all the blue collar workers out there that must be so offended by “Boilermaker” Pete swinging around that sledgehammer in a violent fashion. The savage!

  76. Indians come from India….

    I asked her “Since Indians come from India, and using that term to refer to peoples who lived on the North American for several thousand years, is a bit low IQ …

    FYI to my fellow Palefaces:

    If you talk to actual American Indians, you will find that many or even most prefer to be called “American Indians,” rather than “Native Americans.”

    This tendency is enhanced if the American Indians you talk to have a higher proportion of Indian blood and live on or near a reservation. The tendency may be reversed, however, if the American Indians you talk to are mostly white, and live on or near a college campus in a mostly white city.

    I stumbled across this once while doing a phone interview of a White Mountain Apache living on a reservation in Arizona for a corporate magazine. (She was a manager at a small business that used traditional blanket-making techniques to make insulation for Apache helicopters.)

    During the interview, I always used the term “Native American” I just as I was taught, but about halfway through I noticed that she used “American Indian,” or more frequently just “Indian.”

    Later I asked another woman who was part Cherokee about this, and she basically said real Indians prefer to call themselves “American Indians” while only whiteyfied, lost-touch-with-their-traditions, pitiable Fukawi called themselves “Native Americans.”

    She said “Fukawi” meant “those who have lost their way.” Not a real American Indian language term, she went on, but on old joke based on corrupted English. “Where the fuck are we?” = “We’re the Fukawi!”

    That’s when I realized where the name of the Indian tribe on the old comedy “F-Troop” came from: the Hukawi. “Where the heck are we?” A bowdlerization of this apparently old joke.

    Since that day, I use “Native American” when writing for hire (because an editor will just change “American India” to that anyway). Otherwise, I say “American Indian.”

    That’s based on what I was told, anyway. Honest Anglo. YMMV.

    PS: Russell Means, the American Indian activist (who unsuccessfully tried to be the Libertarian Party candidate for president in 1988), is among those who claim that Columbus called the natives he met not “Indios” (“people of India”) but “en Dios” (“[people] of God”) because he was impressed by their spirituality. Means says, “That is why I am proud to be called an American Indian.” I am skeptical of this unorthodox claim, however. It sounds like PC BS of another color. So to speak.

  77. Before Pedant says anything, let me revise this sentence:

    I stumbled across this once while doing a phone interview of a White Mountain Apache living on a reservation in Arizona for a corporate magazine.

    to

    I stumbled across this once while doing a phone interview, for a corporate magazine, of a White Mountain Apache living on a reservation in Arizona.

  78. Trying to think of more PC team names.

    The Harmonious Environmentalists

    The Smart Growthers

    The Stereotype Smashers

    The Gentle, Nurturing, Supportive Fathers

    The Stupid, Lazy, Spendthrift Jews

    The Petite, Willowy Lesbians With Delicate Faces and Long, Flowing Hair

    The Athletic Asians Who Are Suberb Drivers and Have No Particular Aptitude for Math, Science, Engineering, Architecture, Graphic Design or Illustration

    Better stop now.

  79. I can understand ‘squaw’ being derogatory since it is equivalent to calling a woman ‘slut’, but how does ‘redskin’ differ from ‘black’ or ‘colored people’, terms used as in ‘Democratic Black Caucus’ and NAACP?…

    Comment by: Dedskin at August 8, 2005 02:01 PM

    I think you’re thinking of the misunderstanding that squaw supposedly derives from an Aboriginal American word meaning “cunt”. This is a common belief, but apparently untrue.

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/000317.html

    regarding Chief Wahoo:

    http://www.derfcity.com/o/wahoochrist.html

    derf has another good strip on this subject, but apparently not archived on his site

    I would have posted this sooner, before the thread mostly died out, but I just remembered it

    TWC:

    I thought the Vandals wuz a biker gang.

    Comment by: TWC at August 8, 2005 12:08 PM

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandals

  80. Biologist:

    he.

    (i always like it when christian types get their panties in a bunch and like it even better when people like derf parody it)

  81. ChirsO,
    You mis-understand. The PTO doesn’t stop you from anything. You can name your store whatever you want. They don’t have ANY enforcemnet or rulemaking body. “If I wanted to open a specialty food store called “Fucking Nuts”, I would probably not be very commercially savvy in doing so, but why should the PTO care about the unsavoriness of the name?”

    Also if you were able to aruge the name “fucking nuts” was essential to your store and a unique concept you might be able to. The Porn is heavaly trademarked.

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