Awful shooting reignites war against sports mascots, symbols

Jerry Seinfeld states he does not play colleges anymore, that numerous of his fellow comics also avoid the hallowed halls and ivy walls, that young people who stroll the premises of greater learning today do not understand those politically correct terms they so easily inject into discussion.

That they merely want to make use of the words.

Racist. Sexist. Bias.

That, according to Seinfeld, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

The debate has actually emerged again, charged by a mass shooting in one of the country’s earliest black churches, a disaster that struck Charleston, S.C., last week that left nine individuals dead and the nation again pondering which symbols and flags and logos and mascots are offensive in a manner that they must be expunged from presence.

It is a war that has actually never ever ended, an exposed gash that never appears to recover.

Sports has actually discovered itself on the front lines usually, straddling in between finding those images that best define and encourage team spirit while likewise preventing any sensitivities that might bring charges of bigotry or bigotry.

Example: The University of Mississippi might have buried its white-bearded plantation owner of a mascot years ago, however the ghost of Colonel Reb exists throughout Oxford.

“The term ‘politically appropriate’ is practically not a politically correct thing to state any longer,” stated Michael Ian Borer, associate professor of sociology at UNLV. “I believe every community, every population, has a right to specify who they are and how they are represented. It’s a debate worth having. Discussing it is an advantage. Not discussing it and having a knee-jerk response to it isn’t. You do not wish to end up with a world that is relatively dull, without a range of human distinctiveness and variation of identities.

“College mascots are very important. They represent and identify towns and neighborhoods and schools and populations. There is both physical and symbolic value to such logo designs and brands. You want to be delicate to others, but when does that go too far? When can we not make a joke or be ourselves without worry of offending someone? That doesn’t seem like a very complimentary society. Social expression is at the very heart of American culture. We can’t alter the past, but we can change how we believe now and how we move forward.”

It was fairly apparent today that Sen. Harry Reid either didn’t believe before he spoke or had not been completely aware of those modifications that had actually been made over the years to UNLV’s mascot, Hey Reb! When asked how he felt about the nickname Rebels and the school’s mascot because of numerous decrying the use of the Confederate flag by some states, Reid said he believed the Board of Regents should “take that up and take a look at it.”

The next day, when someone in the senator’s workplace most likely educated themselves on the concern’s history, a Reid representative backtracked from the answer quicker than many UNLV football securities have in current years.

However it contributed to a style that appears consistently present in pro and college sports. Increasingly more, groups have changed nicknames and upgraded logos, commonly at the expenditure of numerous fans who are committed to a specific identity.

I’m not exactly sure that’s always the best thing.

Borer makes a valid point when asking when such response becomes too much. We have basically eliminated the capability for sensible, educated individuals to distinguish between that which is a sign of school spirit or one of hate.

Censorship has presumed a leading function in society. Free speech is increasingly more controlled.

We have ended up being an excessively sensitive culture, with every letter of every word of every statement analyzed for a secret prejudice.

Dartmouth as soon as had an Indian mascot. Then it had one shaped like a beer keg. Miami University went from the Redskins to the RedHawks. Eastern Washington went from the Savages to the Eagles. We know all about the NFL team in Washington and its battle over a nickname.

I guess even some Notre Dame fans over the years have actually taken offense to their group being called the Fighting Irish, not wishing to be compared to a band of combating, bearded, bald drunks.

I’m believing Papa, rest his County Mayo soul, would disagree.

There isn’t a right or wrong answer, and in no way should the dispute over college nicknames and mascots ever be compared with an ill, hateful lunatic with a gun who strolled into a house of God one night and began shooting.

However if we really have actually reached a time when it’s politically incorrect to discuss what should be considered politically proper, the only progress we make is animating our society to the point that flexibility of speech and expression does not exist without worry of retribution.

And that’s an unfortunate reality.

“I think with any sign or mascot, you ask, ‘Exactly what is it saying about us?’ and if we do not like it, let’s change it,” Borer said. “With a disaster such as the one in South Carolina, feelings run high. However with something like a mascot or a nickname, it needs to bring individuals together.

“That doesn’t suggest it often will not hurt some which it won’t offend those people, but the hope is you can debate it in a civil and logical manner.”

From the appearances of things nationally today, that’s hoping for a lot.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports writer Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com!.?.! or 702-383-4618. He can be a heard on”Seat and Ed “on Fox Sports 1340 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.

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