Usually when controversy and basketball mascots are mentioned in the same breath, it has something to do with the use of negative Native-American stereotypes such as the Fighting Illini’s Chief Illiniwek, Florida State’s Sammy Seminole, or the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux.
However, to address these stereotypical misrepresentations of the Native-American culture, a University of Northern Colorado (UNC) intramural basketball team (which included players of Native-American ancestry) went on the satiric warpath in 2002 by adopting the name “Fighting Whites” (later dubbed “Fightin’ Whities” by media outlets). For their team’s mascot, the Fighting Whites employed a stereotypical, white, 1950s ad man based on the advertising art of the time.
When I first heard news about the Fightin’ Whities during an NPR report while driving my car to work, I nearly spit my coffee all over the dashboard. Finally, somebody had the stones to stick it to the White Man, I thought to myself. Before long, the Fightin’ Whities took the nation by storm and began selling the team’s t-shirt all over the country.
They sold enough t-shirts in 2003 that they were able to donate $100,000 to the UNC Foundation, most of which went to a scholarship fund for Native Americans.
Those silly Indian Givers — bucking the White Man’s ironic stereotypes once again.
And now David Letterman’s “Late Show” is getting in on some of the mascot action with its latest installment of the Online Top Ten Contest. Due to the recent demise of voter turnout among SSF readers, my quest to win the Holy “Online Late Show” t-shirt has devolved from an obsession to an exercise-in-futility.
That said, here’s my top-ten list of possible entries to this week’s Top Ten contest. Once again, I’m soliciting your help – or not. I’ve written ten possible entries for this week’s list, and it’s up to you to help me select the CHOSEN ONE from the list (for I can only submit one) that you think has the best chance of winning.
This week’s list: Top Ten Rejected NCAA College Basketball Mascots
10. University of North Carolina Tar
9. AIG Golden Parachutists
8. University of Nevada – Las Vegas Number-Runnin’ Rebels
7. University of Kentucky Klansmen
6. University of Tennessee – Nashville Off-Court Predators
5. Boston College Lady Spread-Eagles
4. Indiana University Dark Knights
3. Duke Blue
2. Oral Roberts University Fightin’ Fundies
1. American University Flying Jihadists
Don’t forget to indicate (in the Comments) which ONE of these I should submit to the Top Ten Contest.