It is my good fortune to have a cadre of readers here who are both smart and cordial. When we disagree on something, we discuss it with one another in the Comments section here or via e-mail; when I make a mistake in one of the rants, someone usually points it out politely as an “error” and not “evidence of my monumental stupidity”. Such is the case from yesterday’s rant. I said there that it was the USFL that had introduced the 2-point conversion to professional football. A long-term reader corrected me with this note:
“The 2-point conversion has been a part of American collegiate football since 1958;
“The AFL used the 2-point conversion during its entire existence (1960-1969);
“The NFL Europe also used the 2-point conversion for the entirety of its existence … (1991-2007); and,
“The NFL finally adopted the 2-point conversion in 1994.”
Thank you for the correction. I was in error.
While I am in the mode of filling space here with readers’ information, here is another item. Thanks to an e-mail from a devoted NBA fan and admirer of LeBron James, I was told to go to the box score for the Cavs/Pacers game on 26 January to observe the very rare phenomenon of a quadruple double. The Cavaliers won the game 115-108; LeBron James played 39 minutes in the game and achieved this quadruple double:
- 26 points
- 10 rebounds
- 11 assists
- 11 turnovers
The news item from yesterday that did not make me smile a whole lot was the news that the Cleveland Indians will rid themselves of their “Chief Wahoo” mascot after the 2018 season. Before anyone gets their knickers in a knot, my lack of enthusiasm upon hearing that news has nothing whatsoever with the issue of lack of respect for Native Americans regarding that mascot. My issue here is determined by the fact that I live in suburban DC and that news will reignite the ongoing issue around here about the name of the Washington NFL franchise. Reigniting that issue means that all of the same arguments that have been brought forward in the past 35 years or so regarding that naming issue will be repeated yet again – only louder this time. Pardon me for not looking forward to that.
To be clear, this is my position about the Washington team name:
- Danny Boy Snyder owns the team. He can call it whatever he wants to call it.
- I believe that there is no point in going out of my way to offend a group of people and so I will try to refrain from using the offending name as much as possible.
- I have no right to tell Danny Boy what to call his team; he has no right to tell me what I choose to call them here.
Sadly, here are things that are going to happen in the DC area now that the Cleveland Indians have made the decision that they have:
- There will be at least one editorial in the Washington Post calling on Danny Boy to change the team name. On that same day, I will be able to open the Sports Section of the Washington Post and find the word “Redskins” at least a dozen times.
- Name-change advocates and activists will demonstrate and there will be Letters to the Editor from them in great quantity.
- Fanboys of the team will also write Letters to the Editor and post on Facebook that the name-change advocates are symptomatic of the “wussification of America”.
- And on – and on – it will go…
I have tried to suggest here that moral outrage is unlikely to change Danny Boy’s mind on the team name but that economic pressure would. Consider these economic data reported by Forbes in September 2017:
- Skins’ Revenue (net of stadium debt payments) = $482M
- Skins’ Revenue (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) = $145M
Danny Boy and his minority owners are taking home a net income of $145M per year with the “offensive nickname”; I have to imagine that they can easily be convinced that, “It ain’t broke; so why fix it?” Now if it were to “appear to be broke” to Danny Boy and his minority owners – say by halving the earnings of the team over the next couple of seasons – that group MIGHT think that changing the name was a better idea. This is not a moral argument or a sociological one; if this fight is to be engaged in the real world, the fight must be on economics’ turf.
That is not how MLB and the Cleveland Indians have characterized that decision. According to reports, MLB Commish, Rob Manfred, pushed the decision. Here is part of the MLB statement on this matter:
“Over the past year, [MLB} encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, [Indians owner] Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a long-standing attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.
“Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”
That second part of Rob Manfred’s statement is going to light the fuse on the arguments here in the DC area. And those arguments are about as useful as a set of Amish emojis. Ooops, I just tripped in the minefield of stereotyping…
Finally, since I have tried to argue for pragmatism in place of moralism above, consider this comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times recently:
“The Florida Legislature is considering a ‘UCF national champions’ license plate in honor of Central Florida’s 13-0 football team.
“So, what’s next – a White House invite from President Bernie Sanders?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………