Saturday, February 25, 2006

United Methodist Church: Repent, Richmond, you sinful city!
Braves strike out in Richmond

The United Methodist Church has rejected Richmond for its 2012 international conference because the city's minor league baseball team is named the Braves.

"Many Native Americans, if you ask them what they think about team mascots, will tell you that they find [them] to be demeaning," said Stephen Drachler, a spokesman for the United Methodist Church.

Apparently, nobody asked Virginia's Monacan Nation, located near Lynchburg about 130 miles west of Richmond.

Kenneth Branham, Monacan chief, yesterday said, "The mascot thing has been blown out of proportion."

The problem is not that teams have American Indian names and mascots, but how those mascots act, Mr. Branham said.

"It is not so much the name as the silly way they act," he said. "When children see that, they think that is how Indians act."

The Richmond Braves don't have a mascot. They have a duck -- "a big, happy, yellow" one named "Diamond Duck," Braves spokesman John Emmett said.

What's more, the mascot for the Atlanta Braves -- the Major League parent team of the Richmond Braves -- is a large, talking baseball named "Homer."…

When the panel met last fall to select a site for the 2012 conclave, it automatically ruled out Atlanta, because of its Braves, and Washington, D.C., because of its Redskins…

"However well-intended, sports teams named after Native Americans demean the heritage of native people," says Gail Murphy-Geiss of Centennial, Colo., who headed the selection panel. "They perpetuate unhealthy and unfair stereotypes."

I have a ‘stereotype’ exercise for the reader. Close your eyes, clear you thoughts, and conjure up an image of Ms. Murphy-Geiss. Now imagine what her philosophy might be. See how well you did here .

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