It suggests that the NFL’s default position is to promote “unity” without any commitment to values or goals that actually unify people. "Without the unfortunate death of George Floyd and subsequent popular uprising during a pandemic time, I highly doubt that the Redskins would have ended up doing what they did.". For less ostentatiously awful team owners, as in the cases of Kansas City and MLB’s Atlanta Braves, being confronted with the mascot question means putting out statements about being “engaged in meaningful discussions” while not actually doing anything. He has chosen to kneel in the middle of the league’s sanctioned message, “END RACISM,” which seems unlikely to be accidental. (It makes sense, then, that Native mascots and team names took off at the turn of the twentieth century, just as America was sprinting into its next phase in colonization: The erasure and assimilation of traditional Native governance and culture.). And so they use all the institutions in their control to protect them. The Native mascot functions as a seal of approval for the Americans who support it, an ode to their belief that this land is fairly theirs. The Chiefs said they will continue conversations with indigenous leaders, which have already impacted the way they honor Native Americans during a Blessing of the Drum and the Blessing of the Four Directions.
Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. In trying to explain his position—of limiting the free speech of the Native opposition—Shipp tried to convince The St. George Spectrum & Daily News of the same tired lie about honor: “Most people I know in this area and other areas feel it’s an honor to be called by that name and when the high school originally did that, it was to honor the Redmen and their history.”. Michael Butterworth The Washington team announced on Monday plans to drop its "Redskins" name after a review. So much rests on it. The Kansas City Chiefs and the American Indian Center of the Great Plains put on a Punt, Pass and Kick competition for youth ages 6-15. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann). Dating back to demonstrations in 2017, this has been the league’s primary strategy: a symbolic show of players arm in arm — both Black and white — presumably communicating our capability to transcend racial division. And Shipp is absolutely correct—the same move is also being attempted in Idaho’s state government by Representative Chad Christensen, who wrote on Facebook that his own bill was an attempt to combat “an agenda to destroy local heritage.” This legal approach might be new territory for the mascot issue, but it’s a tried-and-true method for Americans hoping to cling to other ahistorical nonsense. Everyone goes home. My own reading of this image, then, is necessarily limited. "Money's talking because there's a general uprising with regard to racial consciousness at the moment," said Torres Colón, citing ongoing protests across the U.S. following the death of George Floyd in police custody. Read together, these images help us visualize the opposite of their stated intent. The new fan policies announced Thursday could be only the beginning of changes. In doing so, the calls for justice made by and on behalf of Black citizens are subordinated to the empathy and unity authorized by white voices and faces. There is a standard practice in professional football to promote franchise insignia this way, so by itself it is unremarkable. Such a stark visual juxtaposition of “CHIEFS” and “END RACISM” suggests the NFL’s commitment to racial justice is variable at best and a public relations gambit at worst. A sign outside a Kansas City area fast-food restaurant that disparaged Native Americans was the catalyst for a better relationship between area indigenous peoples and the KC Chiefs. It’s that the people with the most power in this situation—the owners, the franchises—know exactly what they’re doing and don’t care. In short, they remind us that calls for social justice remain limited when operating within the symbolic space of the NFL. The Chiefs have come under fire for their name and its ties to the Native American community, and that’s where this debate rumbles loudest. We use cookies and other technologies to customize your experience, perform analytics and deliver personalized advertising on our sites, apps and newsletters and across the Internet based on your interests. So on the matter of the Chiefs, yes, it’ll be upsetting to tune in on Sunday and witness the fans in redface and some kind of faux “Indian” garb chanting and waving their arms.

Those on the other side are not willing to listen to the counterargument because their argument is so transparently hollow. The NFL had declared before the season started that it would add this label, but that decision received a lukewarm response. The photo also implores us to “VOTE.” Where “END RACISM” is empty because it is visually underwhelming, then “VOTE” – down there in the the same row with corporate sponsorship ads — fails as well for being more gestural.
And like the statues, despite their often incoherent and cheap origins, these mascots and team names have begun to represent something different for the American people, something grander. In speaking with The Salt Lake Tribune following a rally by Native citizens outside the Utah Capitol, Shipp described the law as a “blueprint” for localities to follow as the issue inevitably crops up in the coming years. Many Kansas City Chiefs fans have worn Native American headdresses and face paint. At the beginning of its 2020 season, the NFL found itself responding to a national reckoning with racial injustice. Kansas City Chiefs to ban fans from wearing headdresses and Native American-themed face paint By David Close and Nicole Chavez , CNN Updated 8:37 PM ET, Thu August 20, 2020 Yet, it is unclear if Miller has done so as an endorsement of the slogan or an indictment of it is empty symbolism. We also see the league’s approach to “unity” in visual strategies that have been captured by photojournalists. Miller kneels in quiet reflection, in what could be prayer or anguish over the gravity of the circumstances beyond the stadium. Fans will also be asked to remove face painting that is "styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions" to enter the stadium, the team said. is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images. On Sunday, tens of millions of Americans will tune in to Super Bowl LIV to watch Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs try to crack the nut that is the San Francisco 49ers defense. "Today, the Chiefs organization joins people all across the country in recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day, a chance to honor and celebrate Native American peoples, histories and cultures. This content is currently not available in your region. As a white man in the United States, I myself am unable to grasp fully the burden that Black athletes carry in this moment. They are also, crucially, intellectual property. For a slimier owner, like Washington’s Daniel Snyder, this entails hiring pretendians and Native people alike to throw at the press as proof that all Natives are pro-mascot. We rely on readers like you to uphold a free press. The Kansas City Chiefs often claim Arrowhead Stadium as the world’s loudest home field — and one of the most intimidating. (CNN)The Kansas City Chiefs announced Thursday that fans won't be allowed to wear ceremonial headdresses and Native American-style face paint in the team's stadium.

", Many fans are resistant to seeing their team's logo or branding change, but Elizabeth Glynn, the CEO of Travois, a consulting firm that works with Native American and Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian communities, said "this is a good time to jump on a train that’s already moving. (And depending on how deep you want to dive down through the levels of violence against Native peoples that exist in this particular medium, the history behind the “49ers” team name is rooted in a much more physical form of violence—that of the 1849 California Gold Rush, in which the colonizers flocked to the West Coast and slaughtered tens of thousands of Natives in search of profit.). The Washington football franchise is reportedly worth $3.4 billion, and while the league’s viewership numbers remain in flux, merchandise sales have steadily risen. Updated 0037 GMT (0837 HKT) August 21, 2020. But I can’t help but see it as a symbol of that burden — as though Miller’s pose of reflection, with his hand providing support to his forehead, is an embodiment of all that these men (and, in other sports, women) have internalized over months, years, and decades. Those conversations were held in an effort "to gain a better understanding of the issues facing American Indian communities in our region," the team said. Over the past seven years, we have worked in the community and in games to promote this education across all our fans. By spotlighting the NFL’s inconsistent message about racism, centering the emotions of white athletes, and highlighting the isolation produced by current circumstances, these photos, Chatting the Pictures: Agony and Ecstasy over the Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chatting the Pictures: From Breonna Taylor’s Side Window. Since it is far less prominent than “CHIEFS,” it reads with as little impact as critics feared. Any attempts to deviate from this belief system will be met with resistance. Dr. Michael L. Butterworth is the Director of the Center for Sports Communication & Media, the Governor Ann W. Richards Chair for the Texas Program in Sports and Media, and Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.

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