The Great PC-ing of Sports Team Names


by Jeannie DeAngelis

Image via Olga Bogatyrenko /

Recently there was a big dust-up over the name of the Washington Redskins offending Indians by bringing up skin color in what is supposed to be the neutral world of athletics.

For most Americans, indigenous people heading westward and suffering on the Trail of Tears is not what
comes to mind when they hear “Washington Redskins.”

However, über sensitivity appears to be the path America is headed down, in which case there’s a world of thoughtless sports team names that need to be reconsidered. If the Washington Redskins free-for-all is the new standard for offensive sports team names, what about the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Braves?

Anybody remember that horribly insensitive song sung by Betty Hutton in 1945 entitled “Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief?” Well it’s 2013, and the Kansas City Chiefs should know by now that not everyone can be a doctor, a lawyer, nor in this case an Indian chief. That’s why before Kansas City called themselves the Chiefs they should have considered the feelings of garbage men, waitresses, and plumbers.

Atlanta should also be more sensitive to the fact that not all red-skinned braves are brave and that the flippant claim of the Atlanta Braves being brave could injure the self-esteem of Atlantans who are cowards.

How about sports teams that adopt animal names? Tying animal designations to the gridiron marginalizes living beings and offends groups like PETA, who must certainly resent furry creatures being identified with beefy athletes.

Come to think of it, cubs, bears, and bulls do not meander around Chicago, and lions and tigers are never spotted prowling Detroit.

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