Category Archives: People

The Use of Racial Mascots in Sport

By Kyle Huber

 

In the last few years mascots used in athletic programs have come under scrutiny due to their derogatory perceptions. The most common cases are mascots derived from various Native American symbols.

Mascot names include a variety of Native American language such as Indians, Braves, Redskins, Warriors, Chiefs and various tribal names.

Many teams utilize Native American rituals in their cheers and mascot outfits, such as the tomahawk chop, dances, war chants, drum beating, war-whooping and symbolic scalping.

These behaviors are deeply rooted in the Native American culture and many believe these behaviors illustrate the Indian culture as comical and cartoonish.

There are two different views on the use of these racial mascots.

Those who support the use of these mascots claim the images are meant to honor Native Americans, show the power and toughness of them and to enhance athletics by fostering such identities.

Those in opposition find them disrespectful and give false identities to the culture of the Native Americans, by portraying Indians as aggressive fighters and ignore the contemporary lifestyles many Native Americans partake.

The U.S. Commission of Civil Rights in 2001 condemned the use of Native American images and mascots by sports teams, stating such use of mascots, logos and nicknames were disrespectful and stereotypical of the Native American culture.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) also condemns them claiming, “Negative Indian stereotypes- especially those perpetuated by sports mascots- affect the reputation and self-image of every single Native person and foster ongoing discrimination against tribal citizens.”

Florida State University (FSU) has formed a relationship with the Seminole Tribe, who allow the school to use the Seminole imagery as a tribute to their tribe.

Florida State’s mascot is a depiction of Seminole Chief Osceola, portrayed by a student who is a tribe member of the Florida Seminoles, and the fans use the tomahawk chop cheer.

In 2005 the NCAA condemned college mascots who used Native American symbols by prohibiting, “colleges or universities with hostile or abusive mascots, nicknames or imagery from hosting any NCAA championship competitions,” also banning of displays of hostile references by mascots, cheerleaders, dance teams, band and team uniforms at NCAA championships.

So schools can keep their Native American mascots, but cannot not display them at any championship events.

In the past forty years, several universities have changed their school mascots and nicknames.

In 1973, Stanford changed their “Indian” imagery and changed to their school color, Cardinal. In 1975, Syracuse changed from “Saltine Warriors” to “Orangemen,” but changed again in 2004 to “Orange.”

In the 90’s Marquette’s changed from “Warriors” to “Golden Eagles” and Miami University, Ohio changed from “Redskins” to “Redhawks.”

Some of the more recent name changes include the University of Louisiana-Monroe change from “Indians” to “Warhawks” in 2006, and the University of North Dakota dropped their nickname the “Fighting Sioux” in 2012 and currently do not have a nickname.

In 2007, the University of Illinois Fighting Illini got rid of their dancing Indian mascot, Chief Illiniwek.

Northwestern State Demons still use Native American imagery within their program.

Since 1960, the winner of the Northwestern State – Stephen F. Austin football game wins the Chief Caddo trophy.

The trophy is a 7-foot-6 wood carving of Native American Chief Caddo, to honor the Native Americans who first settled in the two communities and provided safety for the early settlers.

There are fewer teams with Native American imageries in professional sports, including the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, Kansas City Chiefs and most scrutinized, Washington Redskins

The Redskins have had their mascot name since 1933, when the club’s name was changed from the Boston Braves to the Boston Redskins.

In 1992, Suzan Harjo and six other Native Americans filed a petition to the Trial Trademark and Appeal Board (TTAB) to terminate the use of Redskins by the club.

The TTAB issued a cancellation of the mascot, but in 2003, a District Court reversed the decision, due to the TTAB’s lack of evidence of disparagement, allowing the Washington Redskins to keep their name.

The most recent outcry has been from President Obama, who said that if he were the owner of the Washington Redskins, he would consider changing the name. However, Redskins owner Dan Snyder has continuously stated that he will not change the name.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) says, “The Washington Redskins are the worst…There is nothing more disrespectful or demeaning than to call an Indian a redskin.”

In 2002, the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) asked all news organizations to stop reporting on sports teams who used Native American imagery.

The Oregonian and the Minneapolis Star Tribune have both discontinued the use of nicknames that are deemed offensive in their publications.

Several football broadcasters and analysts have also stopped using the term “Redskins.”

Analysts Tony Dungy and Phil Simms have elected to simply call the team Washington. “I will personally try not to use Redskins and refer to them as Washington,” said Dungy.

Others such as Boomer Esiason, Jim Nantz and Troy Aikman, say they will continue to call them the Redskins as long as it is their team name. “That’s the name of their team and that’s what I am going to use,” said Esiason.

In 2002, Sports Illustrated took a poll of Native Americans on their beliefs on the use of Native American mascots in sports.

The magazine concluded that the majority of Native Americans were uninterested in the topic and in many instances supported the “honor” aspect of the use of mascots.

There are other ethnic groups that are used as mascots, including the Norte Dame Fighting Irish, Hofstra University Flying Dutchmen, Bethany College Swedes and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.

The use of “Cajuns” has been protested by African American activists over the years.

In 1997, Louis Farrakhan protested that the state funding of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette used, “African American and Creole tax dollar to promote a white culture.”

The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) has also had to change school imagery. Since 1936, Ole Miss has used the nickname of Rebels.

In 1983, Chancellor Porter L. Fortune prohibited the official use of the Confederate flag on campus, although the students and community continue to display the flag.

They also removed Colonel Reb, an imitation of a white plantation owner from the Civil War era, as the college’s mascot and in 2010 introduced a black bear named Rebel as his replacement.

With the public becoming more aware and sensitive to these racially derogatory athletic symbols, many organizations and universities have done away with them.

“Two-thirds or over 2,000 ‘Indian’ references in sports have been eliminated during the past 35 years,” says The National Congress of American Indians.

This is an unfortunate negative aspect that has overshadowed the many positive influences sports play in today’s society.

Hopefully we will soon be able to find a solution to this on-going debate and worry more about the team performances rather than their names.

LSU Sports Shop Has A New Look

LSU Sports Shop

By: Serena Crawford

 

lsujersey

Sports fans across the country show their support not only by attending gaming event, but also by wearing their team’s colors from jerseys to miscellaneous items. These items can be bought online and at on site stores, throughout the entire year. On April 16, 2009, LSU made fan sportswear shopping convenient for fans by opening an onsite store on campus across from the stadium. However, LSU did not stop there. They opened sports shops inside the stadium as well as 18 shopping stands throughout the entire stadium. This is a brilliant idea that allows the sports shops to have a constant revenue even while fans are watching the game.

Surprisingly, some of the heaviest traffic which occurs during football season actually does occur during the game. LSU Sports Shop property manager Tyler Paulus, who has been managing the property for nearly 2 years, says their busiest days are during football season on Friday-Sunday.

“On Saturday’s the locations inside the stadium experience a lot of traffic based off of the weather, weather plays a big factor in our sales” said Paulus.

Being that Baton Rouge weather is constantly changing regardless the time of season, people may not have come prepared for the rain or cold and need some type of outerwear, Although weather is a big factor in sales it isn’t the only factor.

“A lot of our sales are also based on whether or not LSU is playing a big time opponent, resulting in a bigger crowd” said Paulus.

Sales are broken down by category between men, women, children, and then categorized underneath demographics by tees, jerseys, house ware, and etc.

“Men’s sales ranging roughly to about 30%, women 15%, youth 15%, and novelties 15%” said Paulus.

Also since Paulus has become property manager, the store has become privately owned by an e-commerce company by the name of Fanatics. This company owns stores like the LSU Sports Shop all across the nation for college and professional sports. They sell products for over 576 colleges and that number is continuously growing.

Lead salesman Laila Argrave, who has been working at LSU Sports shop for over 2 and a half years, has seen the outstanding growth of the sports shop since Fanatics became its owner.

“This store is definitely the best it’s ever been since renovations, also we are always coming up with new products to keep the fans happy” said Argrave.

Some of those new products are LSU memorabilia.

“We just started selling worn jerseys which are jerseys that have been played in on the field that are given to us by the athletic department, and they receive a share from the profit” said Paulus.

He assured that these jerseys are cleaned extensively before they are sold. However, some people confuse these jerseys for a different type of apparel.

“We actually get a lot of women who come in and ask to buy the jersey think their jersey dresses, then we have to explain to them that they actually have a jock strap attached” laughing hysterically said Argrave.

However, there are other memorabilia’s from the notably honorable Shaq, such as signed jerseys. Also previously worn helmets signed by former players and Les Miles himself.

LSU Sports shop are constantly finding ways to grow.

“Our newest item are customized jerseys, fans can come in the shop buy a jersey and get customized with their name and number” said Paulus.

Both Paulus and Argrave believe that the sky is the limit for the Sports Shop and that the business will only grow from here on out.

LSU grad takes career to CBS sports

By Annie Ourso

Sitting at a small table in a Baton Rouge CC’s Coffee House, CBS sports director Mark Grant motioned his arms through the air as if he were conducting a symphony.

“If you watch the guy who conducts a symphony,” he said, “a bunch of different instruments make it all come together. The drums, the woodwinds, the brass – someone has to make it all come together.”

That’s what Grant does, except as a network television sports director.

“I take the camera guys, the camera shots, the replays, the graphics and listen to announcers – somebody has to wrap all that up into a nice little package and make it have some continuity for TV,” he said. “I tell people I’m like the conductor of the orchestra.”

Grant, a Baton Rouge resident and 1981 LSU graduate, has been directing NFL and college football games at CBS for 17 years.

Only 16 people in the country do what he does, Grant said.

Every weekend for seven months, he travels to games across the country. During the games, Grant can be found inside the TV production truck, calling the shots – literally.

“When you watch a game and see a replay, it’s the director who makes that come on the air,” Grant said. “If you see a graphic, it’s the director who says, ‘Put the graphic up.’ Anytime something changes on screen, it’s the director who does that.”

It’s about more than just airing a game, though. For Grant, it’s about telling a story through pictures.

Throughout his career, Grant has told countless stories – some that have stuck with him to this day. The UCLA-Gonzaga game in the 2006 NCAA basketball tournament, Grant said, was one of those stories.

Gonzaga, led by player of the year Adam Morrison, maintained the lead for the first half of the game until UCLA slowly started making a comeback to beat Gonzaga in the final seconds.

“The story wasn’t so much about UCLA winning, but Adam Morrison, player of the year – my camera guy gets a shot of him on the floor, crying,” Grant said. “Here you have this kid, who’s going to be one of the first players taken in the draft, and he’s on the floor crying because his team is out of the tournament. It’s his last college game.

“That shot became an image of what the NCAA basketball tournament is all about – the joy, the pain, the happiness, the sorrow.”

Capturing those moments and emotions are a part of Grant’s job.

Becoming a director, however, doesn’t happen overnight. Grant spent many early years of his career working his way up through the broadcasting ranks.

He said his first job was at a local cable company, covering high school sports.

“Everyone has to start somewhere else,” Grant said. “If you can’t be great there, you can’t be great at the next step.”

While working at the cable company, Grant took side jobs with ESPN when the crew came to town. He said he used the knowledge he gained working for a big network like ESPN to improve his work at the local station.

His efforts did not go unnoticed. Grant moved up to director and producer at the cable company and began to win awards for his work.

“In local cable, you had the CableACE Awards,” he said. “Our company won, and I was producer. I got a lot of recognition. ESPN recognized that I was more than just a camera person.”

In 1986, Grant was hired on at ESPN as an assistant director. When asked to cover college football, he decided to quit his job at the local cable company.

“Since then, I’ve never really looked back,” Grant said.

His next big break came just a few years later.

In 1989, Grant was working a football game in Georgia when the director’s wife went into labor and he had to leave. ESPN needed someone to direct the show.

“To this day, I don’t know how many people they asked till they got to me,” Grant said. “But they finally got to me and asked not only if I wanted to do it, but could I do it. It was my experience doing local cable as a director that got me that opportunity.

Grant proved himself to ESPN, and by 1990, he was promoted to director.

So, how did he get to CBS? Simple. He was offered a better deal.

In 1998, just before signing another contract with ESPN, Grant received a call from his agent. He told Grant to hold off on signing with ESPN because CBS got the rights back to broadcast the NFL and was looking for directors.

After a phone call and an interview, Grant said, CBS wanted him as a director and haggled with ESPN over who could make the better offer. CBS won out.

“You can’t get comfortable working for one company in a competitive business,” Grant said. “For a lot of reasons, it was a better move for me. Seventeen years later, here I am, doing what I do, and I love it.”

What’s funny, Grant said, is that what he loves most about his job is also what he hates about his job.

“I’m fortunate in that I’ve been all over the world covering sports,” he said. “I’ve met people who are friends for life because I cover sports. I’ve seen cities I never would have. That part of traveling is great, but the day-to-day grind of getting up, packing a suitcase, unpacking and flying – that part of the travel is what I hate most about my job.”

Grant admitted he did not always want to work in television. He started out as a pre-med student at LSU but soon decided that wasn’t for him.

He laughed as he told the story of how he got into mass communications: It was a girl who sparked his interest, not the actual field itself. Grant wanted to be in her major, broadcast journalism, to spend more time with her.

“Once I got into the major, I was fascinated by what goes on in television, especially behind the scenes,” Grant said. “I never really wanted to be on camera, but I just loved editing and writing and putting it all together.”

One of Grant’s classmates at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication was Steve Schneider, the local WAFB sports director. After graduation, Grant and Schneider worked together at the local cable company.

“Mark used to joke that he’d get assigned to cover city council meetings, and they were so boring that they just drove him to excellence, to succeed at something more,” Schneider said. “He excelled. He was determined to learn every part of the business.”

For that, Grant has become well respected in the community, Schneider said, and someone he personally admires.

“I think he’s one of those good people – always stood for the right things, always going out of his way to help people,” Schneider said.

Grant stays involved with the Manship School, teaching classes in broadcasting when he can, and also helps out at the local Cox Sports Television cable channel.

“I like to teach people locally,” Grant said. “I like to help them get to a higher level. It’s rewarding.”

His continued involvement at LSU and in the local community earned Grant a spot in the Manship School’s Hall of Fame.

David Kurpius, LSU’s associate vice chancellor for enrollment management and former Manship School professor, nominated Grant to be inducted in 2003.

Kurpius said Hall of Fame members should be professionals in the field who are still engaged with LSU and the Manship School.

“Mark’s fabulous,” Kurpius said. “He’s had a really great career as director for ESPN and CBS. He also gives back to the school. He’s actively involved in teaching students, getting students to the next level and helping them get jobs and internships.”

It’s easy to relate to the students, Grant said, because he’s been in their shoes and he knows what it takes to get to the next level: hard work.

You have to pay your dues, he said, and really believe and make others believe that you are the best at what you do.

“There are hundreds of people who would like the do what I do,” Grant said. “I do the NFL every Sunday. Only 16 people in the country do what I do, but there are a lot of people, thousands, who could do it and want to do it.”

Grant’s job, then, is to continue performing at such a high level that CBS thinks he’s one of the only who can do it.

“As long as I do that, I have a job,” Grant said. “But the minute I lose my edge and my passion and start taking the easy way and don’t prepare for games – that’s when you start to fall. And when you do, there’s someone more hungry than you.”

The life and death of Joe Delaney, part 2

(continued from part 1)

KC_arrowhead_delaney

Kansas City Chiefs Ring of Honor at Arrowhead Stadium

Part 2:  Death and legacy

A family without a father

At the time of his death in 1983, Delaney left behind three daughters: Tamika (7), Crystal (7) and four-month-old Joanna, known as “JoJo,” all by his high school sweetheart and widow Carolyn grew up down the street from him in Haughton.

According to a Sports Illustrated article about Delaney, he built a modest home on the same street after he signed his first (and only) pro contract.

Unchanged by fame and fortune

Natchitoches native and local banker Ed Dranguet handled Delaney’s personal finances throughout his successful yet brief career with the Chiefs.

“Joe was a very conservative kid. He lived off the money he’d made during training camp and banked his regular season salary,” Dranguet said.

“The only extravagant purchase I ever knew him to make was a fully loaded 1981 Mercury Cougar he’d seen at the local Ford dealership and just had to have. He told me it was the first vehicle he’d ever owned, and for someone who came from such a humble background – from a family who didn’t have much – and could suddenly afford almost anything, it was quite surprising that his so-called ‘dream car’ was a baby blue Cougar he got for under $18,000.

“That’s just who he was: a very down to earth, humble country boy who never let money change him.”

Posthumous accolades

Acknowledging Delaney’s “exemplary deeds of services for his country or fellow citizens,” President Ronald Reagan posthumously named him the recipient of the Presidential Citizen’s Medal, the nation’s second highest civilian award, shortly after his death in 1983.

His alma mater, NSU, which had already retired his jersey number 44 during Delaney’s final home game of his senior season, continues to honor him by playing the annual “Joe Delaney Bowl” to conclude its football spring season. The team’s permanent team captains’ award is also named in his honor.

Though his Kansas City Chiefs number 37 is not officially retired by the organization, no player has worn that number since Delaney’s death. His name is included in the team’s Ring of Honor at Arrowhead Stadium, and he has been elected to the College Football, Louisiana Sports and Chiefs halls of fame.

Additionally, the 37 Forever Foundation works with the American Red Cross to provide swimming lessons for underprivileged children among the Kansas City community.

The tragedy continues

LeMarkits Holland was only 10-years old on that fateful June day in 1983.

The lone survivor of the drowning, he says he found it difficult to cope with the loss of his older brother and cousin, plus the fact that a famous athlete had sacrificed his life so that he might live.

Instead of turning the traumatic experience into a positive in his life, Holland claims that guilt and depression led him down the dark path that eventually led to him becoming a convicted felon for distribution of cocaine.

Now free and raising children of his own, Holland now goes by “Marty” and says he’s found faith in God and is determined to the make the most of this, his third chance in life.

“You sit back and look at your life and think about what happened,” Holland told Black Athlete Sports Network in a 2008 interview. “You can sit down and pinpoint the mistakes that you made, what you should’ve did and what you shouldn’t have did.

“I think about Joe a lot. I think about Joe every time I see a football game. Because all those people were out there, and he was the only one out there to risk his life to try to save a life.”

The heartache has continued for Delaney’s family as well. His eldest daughter, Tamika, lost her fiancé in a drive by shooting while he was on vacation in Los Angeles in the early 2000s. His oldest sister, Alma, suffered the cruel fate of also losing her son, Sharlon, to a drowning in 2005.

“Keeping my belief in God has got me through, and remembering that everything happens for a reason,” Carolyn Delaney told BASN in 2008.

Delaney_grave

His legacy

Nearly 30 years later, Joe Delaney is still fondly remembered almost unanimously by those who knew him as a man of tremendous character and athletic talent who willingly sacrificed everything he had to gain in life so that others might live.

Upon Joe’s death, former UPI sports reporter Rick Gosselin, now is a sports columnist for the Dallas Morning News, poignantly observed that “Great athletes are born with instinct. Joe Delaney died with it.”

The life and death of Joe Delaney, part 1

Joe Delaney

Photo courtesy of arrowheadpride.com

Part 1:  Life

Imagine a scenario in which you are a rags-to-riches millionaire athlete who must make an instantaneous decision to either put your life at risk in an attempt to try and save the lives of total strangers, or simply play it safe by looking for someone else who may be better suited to perform that task.

If you hesitated to make a decision for even just a split-second, you’re no Joe Delaney.

June 29, 2013, marks the 30th anniversary of the untimely passing of one of the most talented yet equally selfless and humble stars American football has ever seen.

Joe Delaney was a star running back for the Northwestern State Demons and NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, who died just two years after being named the 1981 American Football Conference offensive Rookie of the Year by the United Press International sportswriters association.

For all his speed, agility and power as a football player and track and field star, Joe was a poor swimmer. On that particular June day in 1983 he had driven his family 100 miles east from his hometown of Haughton, La., to Monroe, for a day of fun and recreation at Chenault Park.

While playing softball, Joe responded to the desperate screams of three young boys who had found themselves in danger of drowning while swimming in a water-filled pit.

“There was a little boy who was next to the pit and he was interviewed on the television after it happened,” Joe’s sister Lucille Delaney recounted to local reporters shortly following the incident. “And he said someone asked Joe, ‘Can you swim?’ And Joe said, ‘I can’t swim good but I’ve got to save those kids.’ And then he said, ‘If I don’t come up, go get somebody.’ ”

Those were presumably the last words Joe ever uttered.

One of the boys drowned instantly, along with Joe, while another died the following day. Only the third survived.

Humble beginnings

Joseph Alton Delaney was born on Oct. 30, 1958, the third of eight children. His father, Woodrow Delaney, drove a cattle truck and his mother, Eunice, worked as a housekeeper at the local First Baptist Church of Haughton.

“I remember when he was in seventh grade, a little kid, and he said to our mother, ‘Momma, I’m gonna be a pro football player,’ ” Lucille told one of the many journalists who interviewed her soon after Joe’s death. “’I’m gonna make you proud of me one day.’

“He was so small, we all laughed at him. I mean, it just seemed impossible that he’d ever make professional football.”

Delaney was recruited as a wide receiver out of high school by Division I powerhouses like LSU, Oklahoma and Texas. However, the guy everyone remembers as an honest and selfless young man was not surprisingly turned off by the less than scrupulous college football recruitment process.

According to Don Hudson, former managing editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., who met Delaney as a fellow freshman at NSU, Joe confided in him that he’d been “offered cars, money and everything else,” but “it was the honesty of coach (A.L.) Williams” that ultimately landed him at Northwestern State in nearby Natchitoches to play college ball.

Williams will never forget the conversations he had with Joe while on the recruiting trail.

“We were a team that threw the football, and he asked me if he would be a wide receiver if he came to our school,” Williams said. “Joe said he wanted to play pro ball and it was at wide receiver where he thought he’d have a shot. I said, ‘yes,’ and he chose to play for us at Northwestern State.”

Consummate team player

Soon after practice began during his freshman season in 1977, Northwestern State’s starting tailback was injured.

“Joe knew we were in trouble, and he walked up to me and said, ‘If I can help the team at tailback, I’ll switch,” said Williams, who told him he’d come to the school as a wide receiver and the choice was up to him.

At 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, Delaney was considered too small to play the physically demanding position of running back. However, his speed and determination would eventually catapult him to stardom as one of the school’s greatest of all-time at that position.

Delaney finished his college career with 3,047 total yards and 31 touchdowns. He was posthumously elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997 for his stellar career as a Demon.

Two-sport success

While football was the sport he became famous for playing, Delaney’s true passion was track and field.

Due to his commitment to the football team, he was unable to run track during the spring at NSU until his senior season. Hudson remembers asking Joe why he would risk potentially damaging his body and therefore his chances of being drafted early in the upcoming NFL Draft by running track.

True to his nature, Delaney’s response was, “Because my good friend, (head track coach) Jerry Dyes asked me to.”

Delaney still holds the NSU 200-meter record with a time of 20.64 seconds, and also ran the second leg of the school’s 4 x 100 relay team that won the 1981 NCAA championship at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track and Field Stadium. His teammates were Victor Oatis, Mario Johnson and a fellow football star named Mark Duper, who soon went on to earn the nickname “Super” Duper as one of quarterback Dan Marino’s favorite targets at wide receiver during his career as a Miami Dolphin (1982-1992).

Rising NFL star

1982 Topps Joe DelaneyDrafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and coach Marv Levy with the 41st pick in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft, Delaney would set four club records in his rookie season en-route to being voted the only rookie starter for the AFC in that season’s Pro Bowl.

Though his numbers declined during his second NFL campaign, Joe made no excuses. An eye injury he sustained early in the season severely limited his vision. He would play the remainder of the year wearing protective goggles before switching to contact lenses.

It wasn’t until May 1982 that he’d be diagnosed with a detached retina in his right eye. “Sugar Ray’s disease,” he called it, a reference to another famous patient of his surgeon at Johns Hopkins, boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard.

Joe would never get a chance to find out whether or not the procedure had worked well enough to give him the opportunity to achieve the athletic success that Leonard went on to have.

Click here for part 2