Now that the NCAA has banned the use of Native American nicknames and mascots during tournament competition, it's time to make sure all other offensive nicknames and mascots are likewise eliminated.

To begin, Oklahoma State and Wyoming need to discard the offensive Cowboys nickname. The name Cowboys invokes images of horse riding, bull lassoing, gun shooting tough guys. In reality, many of these people were compassionate and warm—hearted, and to reduce them to the status of a mascot only serves to perpetuate an unfortunate stereotype.

Next, we need to dispense with the regrettable use of the Sooners moniker at the University of Oklahoma. After all, we wouldn't want to offend someone whose great—great—grandfather happened to settle on government land sooner than legally allowed, thus gaining an unfair claim to the land.

We need also be cognizant of the offensive nature of the name Runnin' Rebels . Thousands of confederate soldiers fought bravely during the Civil War, and for UNLV to continue to desecrate their memory is an affront to their descendants and is completely unacceptable.

We certainly need to eliminate the obviously racist name of Ragin' Cajuns . What makes officials at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette think that a human being is an appropriate mascot just because he or she is of French—Canadian descent? And why do they assume that Cajuns are full of rage?

Mountaineers is a clearly prejudice nickname. West Virginia simply cannot be allowed to continue to mock those who live in the mountains. Many of these people are sophisticated, highly educated citizens of this great nation, yet when used as a mascot, the name Mountaineers reminds one of the Darlings from The Andy Griffith Show or the Clampetts from The Beverly Hillbillies.

With names like the Northern Kentucky Norse and the Vikings of Cleveland State, Portland State, and Western Washington, we've been terribly insensitive to those of Scandinavian descent. To advance the notion that people from that part of the world are a bunch of barbaric pirates raiding the coasts of Europe is just inexcusable.

Finally, the perpetuation of the idea that the Irish are a bunch of fighting leprechauns drinking green beer is an abomination. Notre Dame should change its mascot to something more peaceful — maybe the Notre Dame Four—Leaf Clovers.
Bryan Alexander    8 12 05