A Brave Move
An Oregon newspaper will not use Indian team names
On Sunday the readers of the sports section in the Portland newspaper The Oregonian found out that Deion Sanders was leaning toward a full-time career with "the baseball team" in Atlanta. That would be the Braves, of course, but the paper did not mention them by nickname. From now on The Oregonian will not use such team names as Braves, Chiefs, Indians, Redmen or Redskins.
In an editorial on Sunday, managing editor Peter Thompson explained that the paper would not be a passive participant in the furthering of racial and cultural stereotypes, and he quoted publisher Tim Giago of the Lakota Times, a weekly Native American newspaper in South Dakota: "The sham rituals, such as the wearing of feathers, smoking of so-called peace pipes, beating of tomtoms, fake dances, horrendous attempts at singing Indian songs, the so-called war whoops, and the painted faces, address more than the issues of racism. They are direct attacks upon the spirituality of the Indian people.... Stop insulting the spirituality and the traditional beliefs of the Indian people by making us mascots for athletic teams. Is that asking so much of America?"
It may indeed be asking too much for all the teams that rely on the Native American image to do the politically correct thing overnight. But it's not too much to ask fans to stop their silly masquerading as Native Americans. Nor is it too much to ask the Cleveland Indians to waive Chief Wahoo, the ridiculous caricature who appears on their paraphernalia. After all, major league teams change their logos all the time; the Baltimore Oriole is now at least ornithologically correct.
The Oregonian's new policy is bold, but it is the tail wagging the dog; it's really up to teams using Indian symbols to change their names. Fans in Atlanta, Kansas City, Cleveland and Washington, D.C., may scream about tradition, but history tells us that the Braves were once the Boston Beaneaters, that the Chiefs were born as the Dallas Texans, that the first professional football team in Washington was called the Senators and that Cleveland baseball teams have also been known as the Spiders, Blues, Bronchos and Naps.
Is Cleveland really afraid the Indians won't be as successful if their name is changed?
Like Father, like Son
Another Allison, Davey this time, wins the Daytona 500
The first time a driver wins the Daytona 500, he usually says that it is the happiest day of his racing career. Yet on Sunday, after he won this year's 500, 30-year-old Davey Allison said that it was not his happiest day in racing. That had come in 1988, after another Daytona 500, when he finished second to his father, Bobby. "That was such a special day that I don't think anything could ever replace it," Davey said. "But as far as wins go, this is the best one I've ever had."
Sunday's race was not exactly a spine-tingler. Five favorites—Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin and Mark Martin—fell out of contention because of a 14-car pileup just before the halfway point of the race. "The wreck took out all the people who had a shot at winning, except Davey Allison," Martin said. Still, Allison had as much opportunity to succumb to that crash as anyone else. Coming out of Turn 2 on Lap 92 of the 200-lap race, Allison was right behind defending Daytona champion Irvan when Irvan dropped toward the apron, putting himself abreast of Elliott and Marlin. "I followed Ernie until he made it three wide," Allison said. "Then I said, 'Whoa! This is enough for me. I'm backing off.' I saw it coming. They just ran out of room, and they all got together. I moved to the outside, stood on the gas, looked in the mirror and saw all hell broke loose right behind me."
After deftly avoiding the melee, Allison cruised his Thunderbird to victory with barely enough challenge from second-place Morgan Shepherd, also in a Thunderbird, to keep the 140,000 at Daytona International Speedway from yawning through the final laps.