On August 5, the NCAA announced a new policy to “prohibit NCAA colleges and universities from displaying hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery at any of the 88 NCAA championships.”
Then in the same press release, all the NCAA did was chide schools that had Indian mascots, nicknames and imagery. And this despite NCAA President Myles Brand being quoted to affirm that “The NCAA objects to institutions using racial/ethnic/national origin references in their intercollegiate athletics programs.”
Pres. Brand, presumably “racial/ethnic/national origin” doesn’t mean just “Native American.” What I want to know is, as an American of Scots heritage, where’s my people’s protection? My people come from a proud tribal tradition, too — in fact, Highland Scots who either migrated to or were brought to the Americas by English masters (yes, some Highlanders were slaves — one of the results of the Clearances) often were befriended by the Indians because of their mutual regard for tribal heritage.
Driven off their land, forced into speaking a foreign tongue and giving up traditional dress and clan identity, should these people now be forced to witness what the NCAA calls the “hostile and abusive” use of their ancestors by colleges and universities’ athletics departments? What say ye, Pres. Brand?
But your NCAA only cares about Seminoles and Sioux. Your list of 18 schools subject to your new policy had nary a mention of the many schools who “continue to use [Scots] imagery or references.” Why is that?
Why could you not permit your list to include Gordon College of Barnesville, Ga., who call themselves the “Highlanders?” And what about the many schools of “Fighting Scots?” Can you think of another stereotype? Aye, but seemingly not the unimaginative souls of Edinboro University, Gordon College (Wenham, Mass.), Maryville College, Monmouth College, Ohio Valley University and Wooster College!
And what about their portrayals? Look at this animated Wooster College mascot, a-waving his sword about! You can barely see this Ohio Valley mascot for his fists in your face. And look at this Edinboro mascot, cartoon of a Scotsman he is! And don’t forget to buy yourself a wee Monmouth Fighting Scots bobblehead.
Now maybe, Pres. Brand, you would want to say that your NCAA checked into those mascots already? Perhaps you saw, as I have, that no offense was intended at all with those mascot decisions. Maybe you saw that the mascots were colorful and a tribute to the Scots’ irrepressible spirit — more honor than “hostility.” Maybe the notion struck you as daft that athletes would rally to fight to win under a symbol they regarded as cheap, cartoonish mockery. Perhaps you also saw that there did not seem to be that much offense taken by Americans of “fighting” Scots heritage.
I don’t think so, however. If so, your NCAA would have been showing American Scots more respect than you showed Native Americans. Because by now it’s self-evident that you made no such consideration of the origins, history and honor of the Native American mascots, nor of the preponderance of Indians who weren’t offended by them.
So what if I, an American of Scots heritage and “therefore” representative of all, no matter what the rest say, were to complain about the “Fighting Scots?” It seems the NCAA would have to do something about them, right, to show equal consideration to Indians and Scots? In fact, for the NCAA to show truly equal consideration, I suppose I wouldn’t even have to be of Scots heritage — I’d just have to say I was.
But fortunately for you, Pres. Brand, you’re off the hook for now. I’m not about to do such a daft thing. Go Fighting Scots!