If Hurricane is going to change mascot, time is now

A column by Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A recorded message greets callers.

“Thank you for calling Hurricane High School,” it says, “home of the Redskins.”

The school has been the “home of the Redskins,” just like the NFL team in Washington, D.C., and other sports teams, for years and years.

Yet a new year is fast approaching. And one should wonder if that year — 2016 — is the one Hurricane High tells the nickname to relocate from that home. Or, perhaps better, simply disappear.

I bring this up today because financial help has been offered to the school. And if ever a change is going to take place, now is the time to move on it.

Let’s face it, the term “Redskin” is, by definition, offensive. And I mean literally “by definition.” Check any dictionary. Across the board, it’s deemed offensive. Caucasians wouldn’t like mascots as “Whiteskins.” African-Americans wouldn’t like mascots as “Blackskins” or “Brownskins.”

(I will stop here, however, to say what’s worse is Point Pleasant’s informal nickname of Big Blacks. Rant Sports once put together the “20 Horrible High School Mascots” — and named PPHS No. 1. “Their mascot is a knight, but their nickname is the ‘Big Blacks,’ can you get any more racist than that?” asked the Web site. Apparently, Big Blacks are a shortened form of Black Knights. Yet does that really make it better?)

But back to my primary point. At the beginning of November, Adidas announced it would offer financial support to any U.S. high school that wishes to change its logo or mascot “from potentially harmful Native American imagery or symbolism.”

That’s big because an obstacle to changing mascot names is the inherent cost involved…

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