Los Angeles, CA-Encouraged by the success of Native American support groups in convincing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to require university sports teams with mascots named after tribes or with terms deemed offensive (breathe in) to change the name and uniform of such teams to participate in post-season tournaments, animal rights advocates have joined the fray.
NCAA officials are mulling the issue, concerned that teams with names such as lions, tigers and bears will frighten little children and discourage peace-loving citizens from the pure enjoyment of the games these monikers portray.
Casper Mild, President of the Friends of Nice Names Society, is heralding the call for less threatening or intimidating names for sporting competitors. "I mean, it's not like they're a bunch of animals out there tearing each other from limb to limb, for goodness sake," Mild insisted. Goaded by the media into actually speaking in public, Mild was accosted as he was leaving a veterinary clinic after having his pet poodle Poopsie neutered. Some naturalist reporters accused Mild of second-degree animal mutilation. But that's a whole other issue.
Kindergarten and elementary teachers applaud the initiative. "Now we can encourage young children to play sports and not frighten them with scary sounding team names, so they'll still want to play," tittered a decidedly elated Candy Landers. The preschool teacher's aide and wanabe soccer mom hopes the new names will make group sports more appealing and enhance the socialization of our youth. Obviously, whatever will get the little buggers off the couch and out in the yard is a step in the right direction. Who new changing mascot names was such a powerful concept.
If an expanded interpretation of current NCAA rules go into effect, teams with vicious animal names will have to come up with new names that pass the Gasp Test, a filtering process whereby the prospective team mascot names are pronounced before a group of 100 fifth graders (two from each state, selected at random). If even a single gasp is heard by evaluators, the name will have to be changed yet again.
Eager to make the process as painless as possible, an NCAA think tank is burning the midnight oil compiling a list of "acceptable" mascot names that it is hoped will not offend even the most squeamishly sensitive spectator. Different categories of acceptable names are being considered. Among the proposed animal names are puppies, kitties, chickies, and bunnies. Other names include such non-threatening things as leaves, butterflies, bubbles, feathers, and balloons. Also being kicked around are names of fruits and vegetables, as well as just plain colors. Alabama's Crimson Tide and the Siracuse Orangemen appear to be unscathed by the whole affair. Even types of pasta have been suggested. Apparently, schools are already vying for the toned-down team names even before they're official.
Spoof News has uncovered what is believed to be the ulterior motive behind the NCAA's decades of ‘letting sleeping dogs sleep,' so to speak. Uniform and equipment manufacturers are secretly promising to ‘kick back' a significant percentage of profits from the manufacture and sale of mandated post-season sporting equipment, paraphernalia and promotional items such as banners, big foam fingers and replica jerseys.
Closed-door discussions are ongoing, and representatives from professional sports have been invited. One possible outcome of the deliberations is that we'll have a whole new permanent roster of professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey teams, complete with more mild-mannered mascots. Think of the millions in profit the team owners will rake in if they pull this one off. That way, ticket prices can be decreased, bringing more people into the stands. Wow! It's truly a WIN-WIN situation all the way around. Uh-oh, there IS a possible downside. Wonder if the Pittsburgh Steelers' ‘Terrible Towel' will become an extinct species.