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Is the Blackhawks logo offensive? Damien Cox thinks so

May 28, 2010, 7:54 PM EDT


With the Stanley Cup finals beginning tomorrow without much in the way of drama or controversy, leave it to the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox to get find an angle of which to get people talking about something completely different than but related to hockey. Cox comes out with all guns blazing claiming that the logo of the Chicago Blackhawks is completely offensive.

Does anybody notice, or should anybody notice, that the team that will open this series on home ice skates out with the cultural equivalent of a cigar store Indian on their chests every night?

At a time when sports leagues and schools around North America are either debating the dubious value of having native peoples used as mascots and nicknames or getting rid of those mascots and nicknames entirely, the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks seem awfully casual about it, supremely confident that no one will dare question the racial sensitivity of the large aboriginal likeness that serves as the logo of the hockey club.

It’s as if nobody notices, or wants to. The same folks who never would have one of those disgraceful black jockey statues on their lawn will proudly wear a cartoon aboriginal face on their chests.

Well, Damien certainly isn’t pulling any punches in his wont to get a reaction out of everyone. For what it’s worth, the Blackhawks have had the same logo since 1926. However, in his hurry to come out seemingly morally on top of everything, he fumbles his point screwing up the facts in the case of North Dakota board of education coming down against the University of North Dakota and their Fighting Sioux moniker and logo. That wasn’t his biggest faux pas however.

Clearly, no right-thinking person would name a team after an aboriginal figure these days any more than they would use Muslims or Africans or Chinese or any ethnic group to depict a specific sporting notion.

Hockey fans, of course, being overwhelmingly male and white, hate these kinds of discussions. Political correctness, they howl, just like the debate over putting women in the Hall of Fame.

Like what Brian Reynolds at Hockey Wilderness pointed out in his skewering of this piece, I guess we’ll have to introduce Damien to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Minnesota Vikings and New York Yankees to show that yes, sometimes these things do occur to other groups that aren’t Native American or otherwise. For what it’s worth, Damien did his job by getting folks to talk about something he’s written, unfortunately, it’s to rip him for being an ignoramus.

  1. Logic - May 29, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    When the morons that insist that every Native American reference be eliminated as “offensive”, they will succeed in driving the remembrance of native people completely out of modern dialogue. When children or adults ask why an Indian is the mascot of a team, the opportunity to discuss the regional history of native people occurs. When the mascot name is gone, so will the opportunity to keep native people from being forgotten completely. Like most political correct, knee jerk, shallow thinking psuedo-intellectuals, the unintended consequences are not considered. Instead of the tyranny of the minority and squeaky wheels getting grease, I’d rather replace the squeaky wheel.

  2. HOB - May 29, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    Hey go to HE double hockey stick. You must be a very negative person. Looking at the glass half full, I see the BlackHawks and other sports teams as honoring an ethnic people with their logo.
    Arguing with sports teams about their logo is absurd. All the energy of claiming that a sports logo is offensive should be channeled towards stopping violent crimes against people. That’s where you’ll make a positive societal impact.

  3. mica haney - May 29, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    i’m Native American myself & the notion that this is offensive is what offends me more than anything. the reality is that the likeness is being used to intimidate & at the same time be a rallying point of a fan base, the face of a franchise, & has become a point of pride for most who share my lineage.
    furthermore…for each time we see one of these erroneous & asinine faux-racist, attention-grabbing declarations about the Native American culture, i’d like to see another like article from Norwegians or Danes or Swedes whining about the Vikings monniker. maybe we should start considering how racist it is to have a barbaric, blood-thirsty culture being misrepresented by a bunch of pansy-colored, purple uniformed pilgrims.
    or perhaps we should start taking offense to any team donning the Wizards monniker for the obvious association & disrespect intended towards the jewish, rabbidic culture (look it up…any wizard or witch reference originates from anti-semetism).
    this falls on deaf ears especially when teams are doing well…in the end the pride & success it represents becomes more important than any negative connotation that can be extracted or derived.

  4. Reality - May 29, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    I’m going go out on a limb here and say that Damien Coxis not a member of the Blackhawk Nation? If Damien had done his research he would have found that they actually approve of the use of their name for the team, because their tribe has roots in that region of the country. Just like the Irish in Boston, who also have a team in the Finals of their sport! I don’t see Dennis Leary, Bono and Conan O’Brien marching down the street holding picket signs! In fact I bet Leary will probably be in the crowd cheering for them!

  5. Sioux Fan - May 29, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Is it columns like this that keep announcers from stating that J. Toews is a University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux alumnus? It is frustrating watching a hockey game and the announcers continually talk about where these players went to college (those that actually did) but refuse to ever mention Toews went to UND. I always here Michigan, Wisconsin, BC but never UND. Is it simply because of the NC double aholes forcing the university to change their nickname?

  6. dutchboy - May 29, 2010 at 9:23 PM

    YES! I am Cherokee and could not have said it better. My college team is the Central College DUTCH and I’m just as proud of that. By the way my wife is 100% Dutch in ancestry.

  7. David C - May 29, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    Blackhawks are fighting warriors. I would be honored to be represented by them. I’m from Atlanta and PROUD to be A BRAVE!

  8. Bob J. - May 30, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    In case you are not aware, the Hawks were voted the best uniforms is pro sports.

  9. Shannon V. - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    Errr…FYI, there is no such thing as the “Blackhawk” nation. Blackhawk was supposedly a person, not a tribe.

  10. Sean - Jun 10, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    THANK YOU SHANNON for observing that the Black Hawk was for a chief of the Sauk nation. He was pretty bad ass, and the founder of the team had assumed the name for his battalion in the war. When he founded the team he assumed the name. It was in respect and honor and geographically correct at the Sauk nation was in IL.

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