Saturday, August 29, 2009

Golden Gophers and Flying Queens

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) issued an edict to colleges in 2006 that they were banned from the use of "hostile or abusive" American Indian nicknames, mascots and logos for their sports teams. Schools that fail to comply will be ineligible to participate in bowl games.

At least 18 schools are deemed to have hostile or abusive nicknames, including Illinois Fighting Illini, Florida State Seminoles, Utah Utes, Virginia Wahoos, Central Michigan Chippewas, Mississippi College Choctaws, North Dakota Fighting Sioux, Arkansas State Indians and Southeast Oklahoma State Savages.

Some schools have already changed their nicknames anticipating the new rule. St. John's (New York) went from Redmen to Red Storm, Marquette (Milwaukee) from Warriors to Golden Eagles and Stonehill College (Massachusetts) from Chieftains to Skyhawks.

I went to college at the University of Minnesota. We were the Golden Gophers, named after a small rodent that lives in a hole in the ground. In 2008, the University of Minnesota had tried to schedule a football game with the University of North Dakota, but it was rejected by Minnesota school officials because of the Fighting Sioux nickname that was considered offensive to Native Americans.

Even though the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribes in North Dakota are internally divided on this issue, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved to retire the "Fighting Sioux" nickname in May of 2009, with full compliance no later than August 1, 2010.

While colleges scramble to adhere to political correctness regarding American Indians, it probably won't end with college sports. As a concerned citizen who wishes to offend everyone equally, I have a couple of suggestions for pro football teams with American Indian mascots that will not offend the object of the nickname.

Washington Redskins -- Washington Wishy-Washies
Kansas City Chiefs -- Kansas City Canker Sores

However, if we are to be politically correct with the American Indian, we must also be politically correct with nicknames that potentially demean other members of the human race, such as Notre Dame Fighting Irish (not too many Irish on the team) and Purdue Boilermakers (obviously offensive to makers of boilers).

Others include Nebraska Cornhuskers, Oklahoma Cowboys, Callifornia-Santa Barbara Gauchos, Mississippi Rebels, Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, Union College Dutchmen, Hofstra Flying Dutchmen, Wilmington College Quakers, Earlham College Hustlin' Quakers, Cleveland State Vikings, Bethany College Swedes and Lyon College Scots.

Thus, I have a list of suggestions for pro football that will eliminate the human race from being the object of political incorrectness.

Minnesota Vikings – Minnesota Mosquitoes
Houston Texans – Houston Houseplants
Pittsburgh Steelers – Pittsburgh Potbellies
Dallas Cowboys – Dallas Dipsticks
Oakland Raiders – Oakland Oxymorons
Tennessee Titans – Tennessee Tenderfoots
Cleveland Browns – Cleveland Clodhoppers
Green Bay Packers – Green Bay Packages
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa Bay Buck Passers
New York Giants – New York Gnats
New Orleans Saints – New Orleans Sissies
New England Patriots – New England Pansies

At least it's not quite as bad as Illinois College Blue Boys, Columbia College Claim Jumpers, California-Long Beach Dirtbags, California-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs and Wayland Baptist Flying Queens.

Perhaps being a Golden Gopher isn't so bad after all. I'd rather be a rodent than a Flying Queen.

Quote for the Day – "Football combines the two worst things about America – violence punctuated by committee meetings." George Will

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where rodents run free. His blogs appear on several websites, including

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