Mascot Mania | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Mascot Mania

Bob Cook of flakmagazine (is he the next Bill Simmons?) weighs in on the insanity of the sports mascot debate. Naturally, Ole Miss is mentioned.

"Then again, sometimes changes in sensibility necessitate uprooting tradition. The University of Mississippi still calls its teams the Rebels, but over the years it's junked mascot Colonel Reb and banned Confederate flag-waving at games, figuring that allowing such things might put a slight crimp in recruiting black athletes. The university higher-ups must have figured, geez, we may as well have a cotton field in the end zone while we're at it. Not that there weren't Mississippians disgusted by this attack on, ahem, Southern heritage."

Previous Comments

ID
118172
Comment

My favorite part of the mascot debate is when offensive mascot supporters get oh-so-offended at being told how offensive their choice of offensive mascots are. What offends me is that an old coot who looks like Col. Sanders is supposed to represent my "heritage." Thanks, but no thanks, cowboys.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-10-07T13:21:25-06:00
ID
118173
Comment

Why has the NCAA regulated teams to not have any signs of american indians in a war pose, but can allow the rebels to keep their mascot? Speaking of which i dont really like the flag. Georgia and Alabama switched and though they now have the ugliest flags in the country they still tried. In a small town like mississippi it's who whines the loudest in this case noone says much about ole miss.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2005-10-07T13:33:48-06:00
ID
118174
Comment

And even "Ole Miss" has an offensive history--it's the name slaves used to describe their mistresses (as in their plantation owners, not the other kind--though I guess "Ole Miss" might have worked for that, too). We're probably stuck with the name, and I find myself slipping up and using it occasionally myself, but I don't see why our heritage is supposed to be represented by a senile old dancing Confederate colonel, or an army flag used by a long-defunct group of paramilitary rebels tricked into a war by rich plantation owners. It was only five years. There was a very long time when we weren't fighting the Civil War, and during that time most southerners had no direct involvement in slavery. There are things about our history that are worth celebrating. The Civil War is not one of them. I've got no qualms about people who want to celebrate the life of Robert E. Lee; classic example of how a good man can get himself stuck in a situation where he unwittingly does evil things. The South is full of stories like that. General James Longstreet, a truly brilliant man who worked for the Confederates (he was the one who tried to convince Lee not to order Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg), would become a staunch opponent of racism after the war and is best known in his antebellum career for leading a vastly outnumbered group of free African Americans to unsuccessfully fight a White League takeover of New Orleans. (Longstreet was captured after the battle, and it's really a wonder he wasn't killed.) The Lost Cause people never forgave him for that, by the way; if you really want to tick off a Confederate "heritage" group, start praising Longstreet. Offensive mascots, by and large, don't bother me much. But I think they tend to reflect poorly on the universities that use them, and I think the worst of the offensive mascots right now, by far, is Colonel Reb. The American Indian mascots are at least cluelessly affectionate tributes, of a sort, but Reb is a little more sinister. I mean, come on, what would the real Colonel Reb say about his predominantly black football team? *shiver* Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-10-07T14:05:50-06:00
ID
118175
Comment

One thing I always go back to is: We don't have the right to complain about the rest of the country thinking that we're ignorant, racist hicks when we are the ones who choose to keep the most offensive symbols we can come up with to tell the world who we are. Sure, there are racists everywhere, but not everybody chooses to parade it proudly as we do. Stubbornness comes at a price. It's really kinda past time to let the past go, peeps. And we can put all that crap in a museum so we can all visit the old symbols whenever we feel like it. But taxpayer-funded symbols, hell, no. It's just wrong.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-10-07T14:12:02-06:00
ID
118176
Comment

Amen. What right do we have to complain about unfair portrayals of Mississippi's image when we have the friggin' Confederate war flag hanging from the capitol building? I mean, we'll never be taken seriously as a state until we get rid of the damned thing. And we won't really deserve to be taken seriously, either.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-10-07T14:48:41-06:00

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