“People think they’re honoring us with these mascots and logos, but they’re mocking us,” complained Michael Spears, an actor from a South Dakota tribe, as leftists take the opportunity of the upcoming Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs to continue their practice of using sports — as they use everything else that they can — to advance their narrative that our society is full of oppressors and the oppressed.
The name “Chiefs” was chosen by Kansas City’s team owner, Lamar Hunt, after the team moved there from Dallas — where they were the Texans in the old American Football League. The name was picked after it proved quite popular in a pick-the-name contest. In fact the Kansas City Chiefs played in the very first Super Bowl in January 1967, losing to the Green Bay Packers, and it was Hunt who first used the term “Super Bowl” to refer to the pro football championship game.
“These images create the opportunity for white people to appropriate our culture,” Spears said. “Imagery is storytelling and we need to tell our own stories.”
Apparently, Spears thinks only American Indians who think as he does should be able to tell their “story.” Activists who decry the name Chiefs — just as they opposed the name “Redskins,” formerly used by the Washington Commanders NFL franchise and countless other sports teams across the country — have appointed themselves to speak for all people of indigenous ancestry. This same sentiment is echoed by Gaylene Crouser, executive director of the Kansas City Indian Center, who is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “The [Kansas City] team has worked hard to put out the illusion that they work with tribes because they do work with a few tribal members.”
Notice that those who disagree with their opposition to the Chiefs’ name are dismissed as “a few.” This is typical. A few years ago, the Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma called for the Florida State Seminoles to drop their mascot, Chief Osceola. Osceola is one of college football’s greatest mascots, who rides out before football games on horseback, holding a blazing spear, which he plants in the end zone (at least at home games). But the Seminole Tribe of Florida likes Osceola and the use of Seminoles as the mascot for Florida State, and they publicly told the Oklahoma Seminoles they should mind their own business.
Before the attack on the Chiefs mascot, the guns of the Left targeted the mascot of the Washington Redskins, as well as of the multiple sports teams around the country that used the Redskins name. Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a moderate Republican, even denounced the Washington NFL team as being “on the wrong side of history.”
In Cole’s Oklahoma, the Redskins name was dropped in 2014 at Oklahoma City’s Capitol Hill High School, even though it appears the vast majority of students and alumni there wanted to keep the name. The next year, another effort was made to remove the Redskins mascot at McLoud, a school near Oklahoma City. Summer Wesley, a Choctaw and a lawyer, warned the McLoud school board they could lose federal funds if they did not drop the name. She cited the American Psychological Association, arguing that all Indian mascots cause psychological damage to Indian children.
But the tribal club at the school told the board that they were proud of the name. One student told the board that the “outside voice” did not speak for the local native community. “We are not being manipulated by others; we’re speaking out our own opinions.” The spokesman added that no one in the tribal club opposed the name and, in fact, they believed the Redskins name was “an honor.”
The Kickapoo Tribe, headquartered in McLoud, issued a statement in support of keeping the Redskins mascot. Mosiah Bluecloud explained that the term is “in reference to the paint we used … Redskin was not something the colonizers gave to us. We took that name.” In fact, Chief Mosquito of the Piankeshaw tribe is recorded as having addressed an English officer in 1769 using the phrase, “If any redskins do you harm….” Then, in 1812, Osage Chief No Ears is recorded as having said, “I know the manners of the whites and the red skins.”
Seriously, does anyone really believe that sports teams take mascot names so as to insult an ethnic group? Did the Minnesota NFL franchise take the name Vikings to insult those of Scandinavian ancestry? Is the nickname “Fighting Irish” intended as a denigration of Irish people by Notre Dame? And, should Christians feel insulted that the New Orleans NFL franchise “appropriated” the name “Saints”?
An Annenberg Public Policy Center study at the University of Pennsylvania (their nickname is the Quakers!) found that 90 percent of self-identified American Indians were “not offended” by the term “Redskins.” It is probable that the term “Chiefs” would get a similar positive response.
For all their supposed devotion to “democracy,” the truth is that the Left couldn’t care less what the majority of any group thinks, if it differs from their radical ideology.
So, what is all of this about? The use of existing animosities (or creating new ones) to cause divisions in society has been a tactic of the radical Left since at least the French Revolution. It is always someone oppressing someone else — this is Marxist Conflict Theory (or Critical Theory). Thus, we have supposed oppression in the old versus the young, men versus women, the poor versus the rich, etc., and charges of racism are used to drive divisions, as well. Members of the so-called oppressed groups who oppose all of this are dismissed with all sorts of insults. I even heard a progressive talk-show host say a Republican member of Congress was not really black, because he was a Republican.
Speaking of Republicans, should they rally in favor of the Chiefs? After all, the Philadelphia Eagles were named for the mascot of Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal — the Blue Eagle. FDR’s director of the National Recovery Administration, Hugh Johnson, who created the Blue Eagle symbol for the New Deal program, summed up the leftist view quite well — “There better not be anybody mess with this bird.”
Things haven’t changed a whole lot. Leftists are still bullies.