By Robert A. Vella
Yesterday, on ESPN’s Mike & Mike morning show, sports journalist Bomani Jones wore a t-shirt mocking bigoted depictions (team names, logos, mascots, etc.) used commercially by professional and amateur sports organizations. It satirized the Cleveland Indians franchise of Major League Baseball showing the fictional team name “Caucasians” and displaying a blonde-haired white character having a dollar sign instead of a feather protruding from his head.
Sports has a long history of using stereotyped imagery of various ethnic and religious groups to promote their products. In the past, groups who were offended by such practices had little recourse. Today, public pressure is mounting to stop this kind of bigoted exploitation. In addition to the Cleveland Indians, numerous other sports organizations have been feeling the heat especially the National Football League‘s Washington Redskins. Although public condemnation is most acute now, this issue is not new. Four decades ago, Sanford University changed the name of their college sports teams from the “Indians” to the “Cardinal” (i.e. the color cardinal).
Jones asserted that if anyone feels upset about his satirical characterization of Caucasians, then they should also feel upset about the Cleveland Indians’ characterization of Native Americans.
Further reading: Bomani Jones wears ‘Caucasians’ shirt mocking Indians’ logo