Indian mascots are positiveDid Mike Littwin hijack Ken...

LETTERS

October 29, 1995

Indian mascots are positive

Did Mike Littwin hijack Ken Rosenthal's column on Oct. 24? I thought the sports page was free of liberal preaching and politically correct opinion when Littwin mercifully departed for the Today section.

Rosenthal should lighten up a little. Atlanta, Cleveland and other cities with Indians for mascots and team names are not disparaging them. These teams use those mascots for their positive qualities -- bravery, wiliness and independence, to name a few.

If Rosenthal had his way, every team would have banal names like Stars, Reds, Blues, Easts, Wests, etc. If you play into the hands of the hypersensitive, politically correct crowd, they will object to most of the team names because they exploit animals or use evil white European men as symbols.

Finally, getting rid of Indian team names will not improve the plight of American Indians one bit. The entire campaign is symbolism over substance. After tossing and turning in your sleep over the unfairness of it all, Mr. Rosenthal, you can really help American Indians by sending them a charitable contribution or by gambling a little in one of their casinos.

Paul D. Rogers

Baltimore

Mascots demean dignity

Ken Rosenthal was right on target to highlight the racist logos of the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. These logos and gestures such as the tomahawk chop demean the dignity of Native American people. Native Americans are real people -- not Disney-like mascot symbols like Tar Heels or Hoyas and not animals like Orioles or Terrapins.

As Rosenthal stated, such racism would never be tolerated if it were leveled against African Americans or Jews. Can you imagine the outrage among the public if an expansion team tried to enter Major League Baseball with the name "New York Fighting Jews" or "Chicago Blacks?"

Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves are less offensive. The difference between Native Americans and African Americans or Jews is that they make up barely 1 percent of the U.S. population, and compared with the other two groups have virtually no political power. Should population or political clout determine the level of tolerance we are willing to give to racist imagery?

Jonathan P. Luna

Baltimore

Back to reality

Ken Rosenthal's column regarding the Native American sensitivity to Chief Wahoo has inspired me beyond imagination. I am an unemployed, Irish-American truck driver's son from Ames, Iowa. Until Rosenthal's column, I had been spending my abundance of time attempting to stay mentally and physically fit in hopes of soon returning to work a stronger contributor than before. Attending Pope John Paul II's visit and the Million Man March have assisted me in this endeavor.

Rosenthal's column has inspired me to take my act on the road. When Notre Dame visits Boston College, I need to organize a protest against that "green little man with the funny hat and shoes!" That fist-flinging mascot has got to go! Unite, my Irish-American brothers and sisters!

On second thought, I think I'll watch the World Series, and be thankful that I live in a country that allows protests, marches and parades. Then, I'll get up and go look for a job.

James K. Ryan

Baltimore

Regan didn't deserve firing

The firing of Phil Regan as Orioles manager was unjust. He should have at least been given another year to manage. Being a first-year manager, he was bound to make mistakes, but they were minimal, and overall, he did a good job.

Blaming him for the Orioles' disappointing season was wrong. The blame goes to the preseason moves that were made. Letting go of Lee Smith, Mark McLemore, Mike Devereaux, Tim Hulett, etc., was a mistake. Replacing them with a group of players who did practically nothing was a bigger error. With injuries to key players such as Jeffrey Hammonds, Mark Eichhorn, Leo Gomez, Ben McDonald and Chris Hoiles, it's a wonder the Orioles fared as well as they did.

Regan deserved a better fate. As he said in one of his last statements, "I did the best with what I had." How true.

Mike Wittik

Bel Air

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