3/16/2002 12:00:00 AM - Rich Tucker
It’s time for a change here in the nation’s capital.
A name change.
No, I’ll remain Rich Tucker for the time being. Especially since the feds haven’t caught up with me, yet.
It’s time for a much bigger name change. It’s time for the Washington Redskins to change their name.
Solomon Little Owl wouldn’t have it any other way.
Solomon Little Owl. He’s the director of Native American student services at the University of Northern Colorado.
Little Owl is pressing a Colorado high school to change the name of its mascot, the Fightin’ Reds. He told Denver’s KUSA TV that, “if we're offended by mascots, why don't people see that? It's a simple issue. And the thing is, Native Americans have been offended by mascots for the last 30 years, but nothing has really happened.”
Well, not exactly. Since Native Americans started protesting, many universities have dropped their Indian related mascots in favor of more politically correct ones. Stanford, St. John’s and Miami of Ohio leap to mind.
Those schools were once known as the Indians, the Redmen and the Redskins. Now they’re the Cardinal (not Cardinals. They’re the color, not the bird) the Red Storm (whatever that means) and the RedHawks (unlike the bird, they’re all one word). Since all these names revolve around the color red, I guess they’re not afraid of offending the anti-Communist lobby.
Maybe the schools just wanted to make sure their sports teams could still be covered by newspapers like Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Oregonian. Those papers are leaders in the movement to stop printing the names of Indian mascots. Star Tribune editor Tim McGuire told the Native American Journalists Association that his move was a "humane gesture to my fellow man”. However, there’s no word on whether the papers will stop printing news from such offending cities as Sioux City, Iowa or Omaha, Neb.
The NAJA congratulated those papers, and is considering ways to pressure other papers to follow suit. So maybe it’s time for folks like Little Owl to think bigger, too. While he’s going after a high school, there are many professional teams that need to become more Politically Correct. Such teams as the above mentioned Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves have stubbornly clung to their Native American-related nicknames despite years of protest.
Here’s where Little Owl’s big idea comes into play. He has started an intramural basketball team at UNC. His team’s name? “The Fightin’ Whities”. Little Owl says he wanted white men to feel offended by the name.
Sir, I’m not offended. I’m intrigued.
We shouldn’t limit such a great idea to an intramural team at a school in the northeastern corner of Colorado. It’s an idea that needs national focus. That’s why the Washington Redskins should become: “The Washington Whities”.
Think of the marketing tie-ins. Right now, teams make millions of dollars selling caps, tee shirts and sweat shirts with their team logo. But that’s so limiting. Five days a week, fans across the country would love to show off their team colors, but can’t wear any of those items at work.
On the field, the Whities would wear blue business suits. With matching ties. For road games, how about classic charcoal suits? Again, with matching ties. The team could turn around and sell “official” uniforms to businessmen everywhere. It’s an untapped market that the Whities would corner.
And think of how cool the helmets would be. Instead of the spear the Redskins plan to feature next season, how about a fountain pen? After all, since the pen is mightier than the sword, such a logo would undoubtedly strike fear into the hearts of the Lions, Rams, Bears and other hapless animal teams who will be taking on Washington next season.
For a mascot? How about a bleary-eyed office-dwelling bureaucrat (we’ve got plenty of those here in Washington) brandishing a computer keyboard? Maybe he works for the Census Bureau (he could help keep score) or, even better, the IRS. Who doesn’t fear the IRS auditor? Players on the other teams would walk on eggshells to avoid making our Whities angry.
About the only drawback I can imagine is trying to get the grass stains out of all those pairs of dress slacks. But a big dry cleaning bill is a small price to pay for an idea that will make so many people so happy.
So what do you say, Dan Snyder? How about it? Go Whities in 2002?