April 04, 2007

Money buys mascots

Farewell to the ChiefThe battle over the use of American Indian names and mascots among college and professional athletic teams has a seldom-told economic backstory. It’s more than simple alumni sentimentality. Money, influence and power often play a significant role in decisions regarding the use of these symbols. Paraphernalia bearing the images bring in millions of dollars each year to the institutions. But the names and images have been decried as disrespectful and insensitive to American Indians.

And it is the tribes, along with philanthropic, education, professional and civil rights organizations, that are leading the movement to retire the symbols.


Rob said...

The article's hook was Chief Illiniwek's demise, but it was about marketing Indian mascots in general. Since almost a thousand of these mascots remain, the subject is still relevant.

Rob said...

Someone is keeping a tally, I think, since the numbers reported are generally consistent.

Here's one site that maintains a list of Indian mascots:

MASCOTS--Listings of Schools by State

Rob said...

I'll ask some of the mascot experts I know where the numbers come from.