SI Vault
Edited by Jack McCallum
May 16, 1994
Jennifer's World
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May 16, 1994


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The P.C. Name Game
College Nicknames are foundering in the tidal wave of political correctness. Native American derivatives (Indians, Braves, Redmen, etc.) are under particularly aggressive attack, but no nickname, however innocuous it might seem, should go unexamined by the P.C. police. We want to do our part to ensure that every college has a moniker that is, as Marquette president Albert Di Ulio said in announcing that his school's teams will no longer be called the Warriors, "powerful, yet deserving of respect and gender neutral." We here identify potentially offensive nicknames and offer politically acceptable alternatives.


Possible Offensiveness

P.C. Alternatives

Arizona Western Matadors

Condones savage sport of bullfighting.

The Door-a-Mats

Arkansas-Monticello Weevils

Conjures up images of devastation injurious to cotton lobby.

The Cotton Balls

Belhaven (Miss.) College Blazers

Imposes establishmentarian notions of style and correct fashion.

The Dashikis

Connecticut College Camels

Promotes smoking.

The Patches

Duke Blue Devils

Suggestions of Satan worship repugnant to fundamentalists.

The Blue Noses

Gettysburg College Bullets

Glorifies violence and militarism.

The Blanks

Holy Cross Crusaders

Presents disturbing historical images to descendants of Middle Easterners persecuted by overzealous Christians.

Tlie Cruets

University of Hawaii (Hilo) Vulcans

Antagonizes the Romulans, sworn enemies of the Vulcans.

The Volcanoes

Humboldt State Lumberjacks

Endorses slaughter of the spotted owl.

The Crackerjacks

Pacific University Boxers

Imposes patriarchal and repressive modes of dress.

The Briefs

Purdue Boilermakers

Offers needless temptation to recovering alcoholics.

The Shirley Temples

Wisconsin Stevens-Point Pointers

Encourages speciesism in barbaric sport of hunting.

The Lap Dogs

USC Trojans

Gives tacit approval to artificial birth control.

The Rhythm Kings

Whittier College Poets

Promotes effete, impractical notions of what's important, as well as pie-in-the-sky career goals.

The Insurance Salespersons

Jennifer's World

Since January, when 17-year-old Jennifer Capriati announced she was leaving the women's tennis tour to finish high school, her status has been the subject of speculation and rumor. SI's Kelly Whiteside caught up with the elusive Capriati last week at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where Capriati says she is taking an SAT preparation course.

"I'm chillin', just having fun," Jennifer Capriati says. She is smiling, but it seems to be a reflexive smile since at this moment she is hardly happy. Like the nimble-footed baseliner she is—or was—Capriati has so far been able to dodge the questions and avoid confronting the rumors surrounding her absence from the tour. "I'm not ready to open up," she says. "I haven't figured things out for myself yet." She says that she has a lot of friends and that she's happy. She is asked if she is thinking of rejoining the tour. "I can't say," she answers.

Capriati, who turned 18 on March 29, is living with friends in Boca after moving out of her parents' house in Wesley Chapel, Fla., near Tampa. "It's better here than up where I was living," she says. Except for the thin silver hoop through her nose, she looks much the same as ever, if decidedly more grunge, in her baggy blue shorts, loose fitting shorts and blue suede Birkenstocks. The last time she was seen playing tennis was about three weeks ago on the Florida Atlantic courts with a friend's boyfriend.

Capriati was a celebrity at age 13. At 14 she won her first pro tournament; at 15 she reached the semifinals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open; and at 16 she won an Olympic gold medal. At 17, however, she had a series of double faults.

She spent most of 1993 battling bone chips in her right elbow, which contributed to her first-round exit from the U.S. Open last summer. She has not played a match since. In December the Tampa police department issued her a citation for shoplifting an inexpensive ring at a suburban Tampa mall, an incident that she called an accident. Since she was a juvenile, the official record of the incident is confidential, but the story was leaked and reported all over the world.

Rumors about her continue to circulate, some of them in supermarket tabloids. She has purple hair, says one report. (Not true right now, anyway; her hair is her normal color of brown.) She has gained a ton of weight, says another. (Not true, though she appears to be at least 20 pounds over her last listed playing weight of 135.) "I don't care what [the tabloids] write," she says. "It's all lies. I don't read that——." Then she apologizes. "Excuse my language."

She is not ready to talk. And until she does, who knows if she will ever play again. Jennifer Capriati says goodbye and heads down the stairs to the parking lot. It is an overcast day, threatening rain, but the top of her hunter-green Miata convertible is down. She drives away without looking back, leaving more questions than answers.

Pop Quiz

After scouring Make the Right Call!, a recently-released 217-page volume from Triumph Books that outlines every major league baseball rule and highlights some of the more obscure and confusing ones, we theorized that it was impossible for an umpire to be cognizant of every rule. We selected several of the strangest situations described in the book and asked retired National League umpire Dutch Rennert, a consultant on the book, if we could quiz him.

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