A different take on the native iconography in sports argument

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I have a go at Chief Wahoo every six months or so. It’s just what I do.  But I’ll grant that it gets old arguing that Chief Wahoo should go away simply because he’s offensive.

Why? Because it never solves anything. Despite the fact that it is 100% rationally undeniable that Chief Wahoo is offensive, there will always be people who come back with all kinds of complicated, contrived nonsense to say he isn’t because if they don’t their childhood will be ruined or something. I dunno. Ask them. It’s hard to hear their arguments what with all of that mouth-breathing.

Anyway, today Paul Lukas tries to sidestep the basic offensiveness argument — about not just Wahoo, but over native American iconography in general — with this tack:

I see this as more of an intellectual property issue. Basically, for those of us who aren’t Native American (which basically means the vast majority of the people who reading this), I don’t think we have the right to use images of headdresses, tomahawks, tribe names, and so on. It’s not a question of whether such symbols are offensive, or whether they perpetuate outdated stereotypes; it’s that they don’t belong to us. If a non-Jewish group used a menorah or a Star of David in its marketing, wouldn’t that raise a few eyebrows? Ditto for a non-military group using a Purple Heart. And if those examples don’t pass the smell test, neither does a sports team using Native American iconography.

I guess I can see where he’s coming from, but I submit that there are all manner of businesses in this country that use some sort of naming or iconography that doesn’t really belong to them. There are thousands of little shops, campgrounds, restaurants, you name it, that use some sort of name or iconography from some sort of ethnic group or singularly respected group of any kind, despite having no connection to them at all.  People exploit Memorial Day for mattress sales, for cryin’ out loud.

I’m not saying Lukas is wrong here. He makes a good argument, but I still think the best argument is that these things are just offensive.

Oh, and finally: before you wade into the comments with your “what about the Fighting Irish!” idiocy, read ALL of Lukas’ column. There he deals with the usual counter-arguments and dispatches them pretty deftly.

The Yankees and Red Sox will both be wearing home whites for the London Series

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This summer’s series between the Yankees and Red Sox in London is, technically, a home series for the Red Sox, with the Yankees serving as the visitors. Pete Abraham reports that Major League Baseball is dispensing with the usual sartorial formalities, however, and will have both teams wearing their home livery: the Red Sox will wear white and the Yankees will wear pinstripes.

It’s marketing more than anything, as you can’t really put your league’s marquee franchise on an international stage and not have it wearing its iconic duds, right?

It’s also pretty harmless if you ask me. Baseball is not like football or basketball in which you have to have contrasting uniforms in order to keep one side from accidentally throwing the ball to the opposition or what have you. And with so many teams wearing solid color alternates now — sometimes both the home and road team are in blue or red jerseys in the same game — it’s not like there hasn’t already been a breakdown in home white/road gray orthodoxy. I prefer the classics, but I lost that battle a long time ago.

So: I say let a thousand colors fly. Heck, let the Yankees wear their pinstripes on the road all the time. Who’ll stop ’em?