Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What about the Volunteer?

I'm seeing lots of stuff on the web about the NCAA getting riled up about mascots related to Indian names. I think that they're going too far by taking on teams with proper names like Seminoles or Cherokees. You take on the names of people, things or ideas with traits that you admire and want to emulate in sport. That's why there are loads of teams called "wildcat" or "bobcat", but not so many called the house cats - e.g. "Let's give a big miaow for the Hamilton County House Cats" Or look at the Pittsburgh Steelers, big tough guys doing a big tough job, and even though it's also a rough job you don't see many Sarasota Sewer Workers. So, it's really about honoring an idea or a group of people, isn't it?

I do think the Washington Redskins is an exception, because "redskin" is now seen as derogatory (and frankly probably always was). And for goodness sake get rid of the "Yankee" part of the New York Yankees, as all Southerners know what a slur that is. (I find it particularly loathsome that so many Brits think it's cute to call me a "Yank")

So what about The Volunteer - are we gonna have to get rid of our coon skin cap wearing, rifle toting, Smokey the Dog running mascot? Is his image contrary and detrimental to the modern South, a forward looking Tennessee? No, of course not, it's an homage to our heritage, just like the Seminole. Though truth be told, I'm in favor of any NCAA ruling that negatively affects the morale of any Florida team.

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