Fightin' Whities mascot raises a little awarness, a little cash
WASHINGTON -- Sometimes offense is the best defense.
That appears to be what some innovative Native American Indian students at the University of Northern Colorado had in mind. When local activists failed to persuade Eaton High School in Greeley, Colo., to change the name and Indian mascot of its team, the Fightin' Reds, the Indian university students decided to make their point a different way.
They changed the name of their intramural basketball team from the Native Pride to The Fightin' Whities.
As Solomon Little Owl, a team member who also directs the university's Native American Student Services, explained to reporters, his teammates, who include some Hispanics and Caucasians, wanted to "do something that will let people see the other side of what it's like to be a mascot."
The result? A media frenzy, of course. Network television, major newspapers and radio talk shows have made the Fightin' Whities the best covered intramural squad in the nation. The Greeley Tribune says its Web site, www.greeleytrib.com
, crashed last Tuesday when demand for the story soared from the usual 200 hits a day for a high-interest local story to 29,000.
Yet, Caucasians have proved to be remarkably resistant to offense. Quite the opposite, many agree with the e-mailer who saw the new team name as an honor to white Americans, who apparently don't get enough credit for their many contributions to history.
"Help me out here," asked one e-mail to the Greeley Tribune, "why am I supposed to be offended?"
Within days the newspaper, the college and Little Owl's office had received so many requests for team T-shirts that the Fightin' Whities now sell their own line of sportswear at their own Web site with all proceeds going to the Fighting Whites Scholarship Fund Inc.