Editorial: Mark Cascagnette
In today’s highly-divided world, where society is seemingly never in agreement and the news is full of tragedy, there is one truly unique activity that has a powerful way of uniting one another. That activity is sports.
In a very special way, sports are meant to bring people together! Regardless of all other factors including; one’s race, personality, economic status, religious belief, and or location, people are connected together through the love of a certain team or sport. It’s quite clear to notice this, all you have to do is turn on the TV during a game and you will see the sense of unification.
Whether it be fans taking part in the “wave” during the game or singing “take me out to the ball game,” or pre-drinking, which many refer to as tailgating.
Some of my favorite moments watching sports have come from interactions with people I had never previously met.
For this amongst many other reasons, points to why sports play such an important role in my life and why I believe sports are more than “just a game.”- See the World Cup or the Olympics.
However, one trend seen across nearly every professional league, that has gone on for far too long has done the exact opposite of connecting people, and in fact has contributed to further division.
The Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves and the Florida State Seminoles to name a few are sports teams who have directly contributed to a negative and divisive society through their stature in sports.
Those four teams are just some of the most popular examples of a long list of teams using a derogatory or offensive term and marketing it for profit.
On the surface, it is easy to understand why the Redskins might not be a great name for a sports team, the same can be said for the Indians.
Both of those words are purely offensive towards the Native American culture and furthers a stereotype that will only devalue the indigenous community.
It is not only the names themselves, but the mascots and actions of the teams that are offensive and conducted without any regard to the ethnic group they are targeting. The “tomahawk chop,” routinely done at Seminoles and Braves games is simply mocking native American culture and depicting them in a savage/caveman like fashion, furthermore the mascot of the Indians- Chief Wahoo, who was finally removed after 100 years stood as an offensive symbol fueled behind a racist history.
Due to public pressure, many of the teams have withdrawn their names or redesigned their mascots and logos, which is an action that should have been taken years before, without any pressure. While these sports teams fight over their racist names in honour of tradition, they also state that they are displaying indigenous people as strong or proud members of society.
In actuality however, the terms Redskin, Seminole, Indian, among any other ethnic groups should not at all be used in sport.
Sports is meant to bring people together, it is meant to connect us, yet these teams profit off of a distinct racist name, while only furthering negative stereotypes towards indigenous groups of people. Ethnic groups should not be represented as team names in any sport.
Not only is this long overdue, but it is a simplistic action and the time for change is now!