October 14, 2009

"Flatheads" the baseball team?

Baseball team to be named today; Flatheads offensive to some

By Chris I. YoungThis afternoon, Richmond baseball officials will announce the name of the area's incoming minor-league team.

Some people hope the choice won't be Flatheads.

The word has undertones for Native Americans. Team officials said they haven't had any calls or complaints about the potential use of Flatheads, which was proposed as a reference to catfish found in the James River.

Team officials did remove Hambones from the list Tuesday after protests that the name refers to a dance brought to America by West Africans and later performed at minstrel shows.

Flathead is the name of a Native American reservation in western Montana that is home to the Confederated Salish, Kootenai and Pend d'Oreille tribes.
Comment:  This team's officials seem somewhat naive. "Hambones" and "Flatheads"? Even if these names are innocent, they sound vaguely insulting. I wouldn't think of choosing such a name without researching and vetting it fully. You don't want something that's synonymous with an ethnic group or a "dirty word."

For more on the subject, see Spokane Team Respects Spokane Tribe and Team Names and Mascots.

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