To add to Tim’s earlier point on the Cleveland Indians name and mascot and the rise of Native American stars like Joba Chamberlain and Jacoby Ellsbury, I think it is important to note how hypocritical the NFL and MLB have been.
When it comes to potential racism targeting blacks, the NFL and MLB go to great lengths to appease even potential racial disparities. But they do nothing but sit tight when it comes to offending Native Americans.
The first example is in the NFL which has implemented very serious requirements for teams in the process hiring coaches. The rule is popularly known as the Rooney Rule and it requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate. It doesn’t matter that they already have a deal ironed out with the reincarnation of Bill Walsh. This rule was put into place when a serious racial disparity still existed in the NFL’s coaching ranks (read: every coach was white).
In the MLB, commissioner has been similarly aggressive in encouraging teams to hire black managers. In August Bud Selig publicly encouraged the Houston Astros to make Cecil Cooper the full-time manager (he was the interim at the time). Selig offered this rational:
He’s one of the finest gentlemen I’ve ever known. I loved having him [in Milwaukee] as a player. My love and respect for Cecil Cooper is enormous but I’m pulling for him for a lot of reasons. Not the least of which frankly is that he is a minority candidate. [Emphasis added]
Also, baseball has recently received a lot of flack about the falling number of black players. This has prompted MLB to pour money into programs that build baseball diamonds in the inner-city (I forget the name of the program, if anyone remembers it, tell me and I’ll add it).
But, while the NFL and MLB fall over one another trying to deal with racism against blacks, they could care less about changing the name of the Washington Redskins or the mascot of the Cleveland Indians.
Hopefully up and comers like Jacoby Ellsbury and Joba Chamberlain will show MLB the err of its ways, but based on what Tim tells us, I’m not holding my breath.