Monday, August 08, 2005

Memo to the NCAA: Don’t Endorse Racism

King Banaian notes the NCAA’s latest diktat on Indian nicknames. The NCAA will be banning the use of “hostile or abusive” nicknames or mascots on team uniforms or other clothing at any NCAA tournament.

Okay fine, I’m against hostility and abusiveness, but why limit the ban to uniforms and clothing? Why is a mascot offensive on a shirt, but just fine on a building? To the NCAA, there should be no more offensive place on earth than Ralph Englestad Arena, home of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux and the planned location for the 2006 NCAA Men’s Hockey West Regional.

Not only is the arena plastered with several thousand Fighting Sioux logos (“Fighting Sioux” is, of course, on the condemned list) but the building is named after a man who was fined $1.5 million by the Nevada Gaming Control Board for bringing embarrassment to the industry (that’s right, he managed to bring embarrassment to the gambling industry). Here is how he did it, according to the Las Vegas Sun:
“Engelstad had held parties in the resort's secret multimillion-dollar Nazi memorabilia room allegedly to observe Adolf Hitler's birthdays in 1986 and 1988. Engelstad later denounced Hitler, apologized for his error in judgement and emptied the room of nazi memorabilia.”

At least Engelstad eventually denounced Hitler. Will the NCAA do likewise with its decision to hold the 2006 West Regional at his fortress of racism? Fortunately, it will be easy for them to do so. They can simply shift the regional to the location of the successful 2005 West Regional, Mariucci Arena. Mariucci Arena is named after a man who would have never dreamed of throwing a Hitler birthday party, and is home to one of the least hostile and abusive nicknames in sports: the Golden Gophers.

The NCAA can either move the West Regional to an arena adorned with a lovable rodent, or it can endorse racism and genocide. Choose wisely, NCAA, choose wisely.


Blogger Dan S. said...

I must disagree with the assertion that "Golden Gophers" is unoffensive.

First, the term "gopher" is demeaning to personal assistants everywhere.

And "golden?" - please! That is clearly an endorsement of the unsafe practice of tanning. We need to send the message that harmful UV rays have no place in collegiate athletics!

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Night Writer said...

So what committee gets to get together to rename the state of Illinois? How much longer will those Illiniwek have to put up with this degradation?

2:43 PM  

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