Skip to main content

See also:

Hoyas, Gila Monsters, among others

The problem with political correctness is everyone is offended by something and one of society’s current goals is that no one should ever feel bad about anything. Which brings us to team nicknames.

Few scream out more evil than the Army Black Knights. Knights, after all, were essentially war mongers led by unelected kings. Who likes violence? And what about one man, one vote? As for black, well, that’s obvious.

And with the college football season less than a week old and the NFL season imminent, it seems an opportune time to exhibit why the FCC should not permit any games to be broadcast, nor should newspapers, magazines or websites be permitted to even report the scores.

Wichita State, otherwise known as the Shockers. Needless to say, the team, and, by extension, the university, uses its name to promote the death penalty (Shock, electric chair, get it?).

Animal-rights advocates must surely be outraged at the manner in which our furry, winged and four-legged co-inhabitants of the Earth are exploited. You’ve got the Michigan Wolverines and the Kentucky Wildcats. And, throughout the sports world, there are Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh my). Not to mention the Connecticut Huskies, the UCLA Bruins, and the Fordham Rams (among scads of others). Perhaps the two that evoke the most colorful images are the Marshall University Thundering Herd and the Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters.

But we’re just getting started.

Duke's basketball team has justifiably earned more attention than the school's football team, but both carry the same name. Blue Devils. Last year, after the football team enjoyed its first winning season in 19 years, one can only hope it was an aberration. What does Duke – not to mention the New Jersey Devils – looking to promote, satanic worship?

Of course, look at it from the other side. The Satanic Elders (what must their barbecues be like?) has announced that they are offended by Philadelphia’s NBA team name. Citing the extreme importance of the number 6 in Satanic tradition, the group says it may present a legal challenge to have the name changed. How 'bout changing 76ers to 77ers. What, one number makes a difference?

In addition, surely there are numerologists out there who must be similarly offended by the San Francisco 49ers. And what about the Big 10 and the Pac 12? Shameful.

And Army is most definitely not the only team that through its nickname is a de facto endorsement of mayhem. The Louisiana Warhawks, for example. Not sure what sports they play, but their uniforms must be something.

Then there's the Vassar College Brewers. There’s enough beer advertising. Think it’s necessary for teams to promote unprovoked drunkenness?

But surely the most offensive nicknames are those that either parody or mock the American Indian. For decades, it was the St. John’s Redmen. Now, they're the Red Storm. Marquette is the Golden Eagles; they, too, were once Warriors. They used to be the Stanford Indians; now the Stanford Cardinal (which brings us back to animal exploitation).

But what about those schools that have stuck to their tomahawks? Choose from the Florida State Seminoles, Utah Utes, San Diego State Aztecs and Mississippi College Choctaws.

North Dakota has been involved in a rather bizarre scenario. In 2012, it dropped its Fighting Sioux name after the NCAA said both the team name and logo were offensive to American Indians. And when North Dakota was threatened with having to forfeit games or forsake tournament money, it dropped the name. Since then, North Dakota hasn't had a team nickname; it will adopt one in 2015.

Still, the worst offender remains the Washington Redskins. Their name – plus the Indian displayed on the sides of the helmet – has long been a target, and the battle is starting to get intense.

Dozens of newspapers across the country no longer refer to the team by its name. The Washington Post has come up with something clever. It will not invoke Redskins on its editorial page, but the sports and news section have the all clear.
CBS' Phil Simms has said he is considering not saying the R-word while calling their games. He will be in the booth for the Redskins-Giants game Sept. 25, so he's still got time. Keep us posted, Phil.

The owners of the Redskins have given justifiable consideration to those who decry their insipid team name and logo, at which time they explain to the protesters that what they elect to call their team is none of their damn business.

In fact, the only team nickname that should draw no opposition is the Georgetown Hoyas. A hoya, after all, is defined as a species of tropical plants. What’s the harm? Unless some people are allergic….