Natives should have a say in changing Native American mascots


Midway staff

People who are not affected by offensive mascots should not interfere with the process of getting rid of them, writes Assistant Editor Colin Leslie.

Colin Leslie, Assistant Editor

Across amateur and professional sports, teams are receiving pushback for their use of Native Americans as mascots, but this pushback is being met with resistance from people who want to keep the mascots. Still, some teams have changed. Cleveland’s MLB team, for example, is now called the Guardians, and Washington D.C.’s NFL team is the Washington Football Team.

The decision on whether to change Native American mascots should come from Native American people, as these mascots affect nobody but them. If these mascots are harmful — the National Congress of American Indians says they are — teams should get rid of them.

Mascots should be harmless. Guarding offensive mascots is nothing but a devil’s advocate position, as the change affects nothing about the team itself. High school sports teams may find a rebrand more difficult because of limited resources, but professional teams owned by millionaires and billionaires have no excuse to keep their mascots. The people who defend offensive mascots are not the ones who are affected by them, so they have no real reason to be so protective.

Those of us who have never been stereotyped because of a mascot are in no position to tell those who have that the mascot is harmless. If Native American people want offensive mascots changed, then teams should change the mascots.