News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

August 17, 2013

Is it time for Redskins to find a new name?

TERRE HAUTE — Mention the Washington Redskins and names like Joe Theismann, Art Monk and Sonny Jurgensen come to mind. They were great players on great teams. Robert Griffin III might be added to the list someday as well.

But another subject has some grumbling that political correctness has reached its zenith in Washington. That is the team’s nickname — the Redskins — which has drawn claims that it carries racial overtones and draws out the NFL franchise’s history of discrimination.

I’d never given much thought to the the team’s label until Goshen, a community in northern Indiana, started discussing whether “Redskins” was an appropriate mascot for the local high school and its athletes. Many see it as a racially derogatory expression that is offensive to Native Americans.

Really, team nicknames, mascots and labels seem a little silly. I can’t give you much information about why they’re called the Dodgers or what a Catamount is. I can’t describe a Hoosier. I do know that such terms have rallied communities and, in some cases, become loved and valued identities.

The controversy in Washington has reached such a pitch that team owner Daniel Snyder discounted any possibility about renaming the team when talking to USA Today: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Critics point to the case of the Penobscot Indian Nation whose tribesmen in the mid-18th century were tracked and killed for money. Their scalps — “redskins” — brought a nice bounty, explained Eni Faleomavaega, the delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from American Samoa, in a column for Politico.

The current chief of the Penobscot Nation, Kirk Francis, described this hunting and killing of men, women and children as a “most despicable and disgraceful act of genocide.”

His strong comment stands in contrast to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s letter to Congress, in which he declares nickname “a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

The team and league’s support for the nickname is harder to defend in light of the past.

Redskins founder George Preston Marshall was an arch-segregationist who championed all-white teams. In 1961, he defended his whites-only policy this way: “We’ll start signing negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites.”

The Kennedy Administration recoiled and put heavy pressure on Marshall and the Redskins to change their blatantly discriminatory hiring practice. They did.

Recently lawsuits and legislation have been filed to void the Redskins trademark, claiming it is a slur and therefore cannot be legally protected. A ruling is expected anytime.

A group of Washington lawmakers has also entered the fray. Rep. Tom Cole, a staunch Republican from Oklahoma and Native American, and nine other congressmen sent a letter to the NFL and Snyder saying the team’s name needs to change. “Native Americans throughout the country consider the term ‘redskin’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos,’’ they stated.

The NFL isn’t the only body confronting the question. The Capital News Service reports there are 62 high schools in 22 states that use the Redskin nickname. Over the past 25 years, its exhaustive study found 28 high schools in 18 states that dropped the mascot.

Only this summer, the school board in Port Townsend, Wash., unanimously voted to drop the Redskin nickname after 87 years. But in Goshen, the school board did little more than roll its eyes and move onto another subject, letting the controversy linger.

Much of this battle can be traced to a constantly evolving language, as well as a political process that now welcomes a much broader spectrum of viewpoints.

The more I learn about the controversy, the less comfortable I am with the nickname. My view has changed from ambivalent to uneasy. While I doubt many use the term in a hateful way, there’s no doubt that it’s hurtful to some.

Tom Lindley is a sports columnist for the CNHI News Service. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

 

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Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis Catch me if you can: Terre Haute South's Justin Jenkins takes a lead off first base while Northview's Jacob Harden holds him close. Nathan Thomas is on the mound for the Knights.

  • Herrin's pitching effort leads South to win over Northview

    When two good high school baseball teams get together, each using one of its better pitchers, the margin for error figures to be slim, and some defensive plays that weren’t made were the difference Friday evening as Terre Haute South beat Northview 7-1.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Odum shines in Portsmouth Invitational

    Former Indiana State guard Jake Odum had a productive first night at the Portsmouth Invitational late Thursday.
    The Terre Haute native scored 16 points, had six assists and three steals for the Portsmouth Partnership team in its 88-81 victory over Cherry Bekaert.

    April 19, 2014

  • Stout home run sparks South softball at Sullivan

    Terre Haute South junior Mariah Stout made her father proud and helped her team win its eighth game of the season at the same time Friday evening.
    With the previously flat-looking Braves trailing host Sullivan 1-0 with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the second inning, Stout woke up her dugout mates by hammering a McKenzie Pirtle pitch over the fence in left-center field for a score-tying home run.

    April 19, 2014

  • ISU falls to Canisius in first of three-game road series

    The Indiana State baseball team fell behind early and never could get the lead as host Canisius posted a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Demske Sports Complex.
    The Sycamores (24-11) and Griffins (21-13) will meet again at 2 p.m. today, but the venue will switch to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. The same two teams also will play Sunday back at Demske Sports Complex in a noon start.

    April 19, 2014

  • Terre Haute North baseball cruises past Warren Central

    Terre Haute North swept a high school baseball doubleheader against Warren Central on Friday night by scores of 14-1 and 10-4.

    April 19, 2014

  • PREP ROUNDUP: Sollars, Morrison lead West Vigo softball to win

    Kaitlyn Sollars had a double, triple and four runs batted in and winning pitcher Leah Morrison contributed a pair of triples and a double to lead visiting West Vigo over Riverton Parke 14-1 in high school softball.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041714 WV BB shaffer.jpg West Vigo baseball wins in rout

    When Brandin Behringer drove in his first run Thursday evening, it gave West Vigo a short-lived lead in nonconference high school baseball.
    The remainder of the Viking senior’s RBIs came four at a time in the bottom of the fourth inning, his grand-slam homer capping the second of consecutive seven-run innings that sent his team to a 15-3 win over visiting North Vermillion.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • College Report: Haley Chambers making noise in OVC softball circles

    Two Wabash Valley natives are again making big news for the Southern Illlinois-Edwardsville softball team.
    Former Riverton Parke and Cascade standout pitcher Haley Chambers was recognized for a string of dominant performances in the circle by being named Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Colts take another look at Shakir Bell

    Under general manager Ryan Grigson, the Indianapolis Colts have searched nationally and internationally for talent to build a program that has won 23 of 34 games in the last two seasons.
    On Wednesday, the Colts took a look at some Indianapolis-area talent, including former Warren Central High School and Indiana State standout Shakir Bell.
     

    April 18, 2014

  • Prep roundup: Vikings get big hits to beat North Vermillion on softball diamond

    The West Vigo softball team improved to 4-3 for the season with an 11-4 victory over North Vermillion on Thursday.
    Leah Morrison busted the game open with a three-run double in the Vikings’ seven-run fourth inning.
    Kenzie Little chipped in with a two-run triple in the sixth and Hannah Harden tossed a complete-game for the pitching win.

    April 18, 2014

Local Interest
  • METRO ROUNDUP: Waltman's funeral Saturday at Indianapolis

    Royce Waltman’s visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Methodist Church at 100 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis.

    April 10, 2014

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Burnham leads Woods softball to wins

    After dropping a pair of games to Missouri Baptist on Wednesday, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods beat Lindenwood-Belleville 9-7 and 1-0, both games in eight innings, on Thursday afternoon.
    Sarah Burnham’s seventh-inning homer in the first game tied the score 4-4, and the Pomeroys took a 5-4 lead later in the inning on an RBI double by Brooke Jordan before the Lynx tied the score in the bottom of the inning.

    March 21, 2014

  • METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball splits pair in Florida

    Pitching dominated Tuesday’s opening day of play in the Rebel Spring Games for the Indiana State softball team, which defeated Bucknell 2-0 before falling 2-0 to Creighton.
    “The girls did a great job in the first game getting a couple runs,” ISU coach Shane Bouman said. “We leaned on [sophomore] Yvette Alvarez who pitched really well. We probably got as much as we could out of her and probably should have changed earlier so put that on me. We have a couple little things we can clean up and get a little better and we will be ready to go tomorrow.”

    March 11, 2014

  • Tony Dungy, wife Lauren signing books today in Terre Haute

    Former NFL coach Tony Dungy and his wife, Lauren, are at Sam’s Club in Terre Haute today, Feb. 12, signing books until about 1:30 p.m.

    February 12, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: Feb. 7, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday, based on jail records.

    February 7, 2014

High School
College
  • METRO ROUNDUP: Odum shines in Portsmouth Invitational

    Former Indiana State guard Jake Odum had a productive first night at the Portsmouth Invitational late Thursday.
    The Terre Haute native scored 16 points, had six assists and three steals for the Portsmouth Partnership team in its 88-81 victory over Cherry Bekaert.

    April 19, 2014

  • ISU falls to Canisius in first of three-game road series

    The Indiana State baseball team fell behind early and never could get the lead as host Canisius posted a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Demske Sports Complex.
    The Sycamores (24-11) and Griffins (21-13) will meet again at 2 p.m. today, but the venue will switch to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. The same two teams also will play Sunday back at Demske Sports Complex in a noon start.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041614 SMWC jordan.jpg Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman

    Over the years, defeating its crosstown rival has not usually been easy for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods or Rose-Hulman when they’ve met in college softball.
    But on Wednesday afternoon at The Woods, the home team made its doubleheader sweep look easy to first-year coach Mark Feller with five-inning decisions of 10-0 and 11-1.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT 030714 ODUM 02O'LEARY.jpg Terre Haute North grad O'Leary to transfer from Loyola

    Matt O’Leary is one of three men's basketball players at Loyola recently granted a release from his scholarship from the Missouri Valley Conference school.
    The former Terre Haute North standout told the Tribune-Star he doesn’t yet know his next move.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond

    The Rose-Hulman softball team will visit a familiar foe today when the Engineers take on crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in a nonleague doubleheader.

    April 15, 2014

Sports Columns
Pro Sports
Terre Haute Rex
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Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Expanding the fan base: Bruce Rosselli, manager of the Terre Haute Rex, displays the team's new slogan, Wabash Valley's Own, during a press conference on Wednesday at Clabber Girl.

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