Written By: JR Francis•
Saturday, December 29, 2012
“Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Pretty interesting to me how often Shakespeare has a line that so perfectly sums up something currently happening, from the minutia in every day life to the large and inconceivable tragedies. In this particular case of the Braves batting practice caps, sports bloggers are full of indignant stomping and bluster, as IF this was a tragedy, but lucky their fits which the Bard said, signify nothing.
The caps aren’t terrible. They aren’t racist. At the very worst, they are only the Braves 4th best logo, after the feather, the lowercase a, and the twin tomahawk circle. These white, entitled, coddled wannabe sports writers (which I am, myself) are crying and whining as if they personally are affected in any way by this logo (which I am most assuredly NOT.)
Somehow the people who don’t like the logo keep referring to it as the “Screaming Savage” even as the logo itself is quite obviously laughing. There is a smile on his face. No one with the Braves or the MLB calls him that, and that has not been the implication. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good hissy fit.
Let’s not forget what this logo is, or why it is there; It is an almost exact implementation of a logo the team first used 58 years ago when they were located in Milwaukee. This isn’t a team breaking new ground into imagry that might possibly offend, this is a team paying tribute to their logos past, to an image many, many Braves fans have seen their whole lives, who associate it with good times of watching baseball. And who buy massive quantities of throwback merchandise with this logo and its variations.
This is not some old logo, relegated to the dustbin for lack of interest. It is one of the prime identifying marks of the team, and it is popular. It is available as a FatHead everywhere on hundreds of different tshirts, and fills the Atlanta Braves Team Store in the CNN Center, and inside the stadium. During the season, thousands wear gear with this logo.
If people want to get upset about racial issues regarding Braves gear, how about we protest over this Jason Heyward bobblehead? (I would be in that picket line, with a sign held high. I honestly can’t even believe it is real. Seriously, did you click on it?)
Also, let’s be clear, while using the team colors of navy, red, and white, the face is not red, its white. The figure is not bludgeoning anyone to death, it isn’t lifting a wallet, or tipping back a bottle of firewater.
Why do these white, overfed, bloated corpses, warmed only by the glow of their monitors as they hack out their blog posts feel they can determine what is offensive to other people? And why do they only pick Native Americans to get upset for?
If cartoon versions of particular groups of humans are going to annoy, here are some other teams they should object to:
This logo says all Irish have beards? They all fight in an old timey manner with the backs of their fists facing their opponent? Racist!
Their alternate logo leads me to believe that all Nahuatl-speaking peoples from central Mexico wear chicken head costumes and have an angry countenance!
Their helmet logo angers me because it says that ALL men of Troy were fighters, with yellow faces and floofy-topped helmets!
Mountain people everywhere are ALL wearing unkempt beards and crumpled up hats! As someone born within a few miles of a mountain, I’m am FURIOUS that they would make us all out to be awkward hat wearing heathens!
I am not pointing out other potentially offensive mascots in order to say, “If we’ve got one, we can keep them all,” rather, I’m showing how ridiculous these objections are to the above teams, which are equal in absurdity to the arguments against the Braves logo.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania polled almost a thousand Native Americans in 2004, and their results confirmed a previous Sports Illustrated poll’s findings, concluding that 91% of the American Indians surveyed had no problem with the Washington football team being called the “Redskins,” arguably a FAR worse slur against Native Americans than anything the Braves have ever put out. If native Americans THEMSELVES do not object, than who are you to post scathing blog posts about how insensitive YOU think the hat is? Have you at all considered that your opinion isn’t necessarily appropriate or applicable in this situation? That perhaps, you’re out of your element, Donnie.
Oh, I’m not saying you don’t have a right to express your opinion. You do. Just like I have a right to express that your opinion is stupid, overwrought, and completely misguided.
In 1995, I was doing research for a paper I was writing. The Braves were in the playoffs, and protesters were outside of the stadium again. I noticed how pasty white they were and wondered if this was truly the way our country’s native people felt about the issue. I live in Cherokee County Georgia, so I went to an Indian group and asked their president why he wasn’t at the ball field with a banner. His answer summed up everything quite nicely for me. I will paraphrase his answer because I don’t have my notes from that conversation handy. He said;first, their name and logo aren’t offensive. Second, if they were, they are not me. Why should I be lumped in with every depiction of every indian ever? I’m not a red faced alcoholic thief or what ever issue some people want to ascribe to one race of people. I’m not that. So why would I get offended? If you get mad when they attribute negative characteristics, it must be because you aren’t confident in your ability to prove those people that their notions don’t describe YOU.
What adjective was ascribed to the citizens aboard Flight 93 an September 11th who overtook the hijackers and put the plane down in field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania? What do people call Captain Sulley, who landed his plane, after complete engine failure, safely into the Hudson River? What do they call the unknown man who stood in front of the line of tanks on their way down Chang’an Avenue to quell the Tiananmen Square protest? They call these people brave. To be brave is to put others in front of yourself. To put aside your own personal fears and take action for a greater cause. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to honor, respect, and pay tribute to a people than to hold up their image and call them Braves. This logo on this hat works for the good of the Native Americans. It shows them as selfless, honorable, and to be respected. To be called brave is one of the biggest compliments that can be paid. I, like the 91 percent of Native Americans surveyed, like the imagery. It reminds us of people who barely enter our lives in this day and age, but were so vitally important to humanity.
William Shakespeare wrote a many great works, but few are as appropriate to this situation. Especially telling is the first part of the sentence I quoted at the opening of this piece, the part that is often clipped off. The sentence actually begins; “Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
Told by them, indeed, Bill. Idiots, indeed.
Attention: The opinions expressed by this writer are his alone and do not, necessarily, represent the views of the site, though really, there are some really great points here that totally make sense.