In this wild world, names are changing faster than a baby’s diaper!

          The Dirty Kanza bicycle race through the Flint Hills will have a new name before the gravel flies again.

          The Washington “Redskins” have announced they are dropping their egregious mascot after years of criticism.

          Other sports teams are being challenged to do the same with differing levels of pressure. The Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Black Hawks come to mind.

          This makes me wonder about our Kansas City Chiefs?

          Let’s take a look back.

          Lamar Hunt’s Dallas Texans football team moved to Kansas City in 1963, but without a nickname. It’s reported Hunt wanted to call them the “Kansas City Texans.”

          Fortunately, that did not happen so the club decided to hold a re-name the “Texans” contest. Over a thousand names were included in the over 4,800 names submitted. The most popular was Mules with the Royals next. Chiefs received 42 votes with other possibilities like Mokans, Drovers, Pioneers, Plainsmen, Stars, and Stockers getting votes.

          But, Chiefs solved two problems, so it prevailed. In addition to providing the new name, it also honored Roe Bartle, a public official who had played a key role in attracting the team.

          Bartle’s nickname was “Chief” stemming from his years of involvement with the Boy Scouts.

          Unfortunately, the naming didn’t stop there. Columnist Vahe Gregorian points out “the team went all-in with imagery and branding appropriated from Native Americans.”

          An early logo depicted a bare-chested Indian in full headdress with a raised tomahawk in one hand and a football in the other. “KC” on his loincloth did little diminish the savage look it embodied.

          Even though the Chiefs have been leaders in integration in pro football this early degrading of native Americans will not go away.

          The columnist asks two key questions?

          First: Can the name successfully be uncoupled from the behavior it evokes, i.e., the Tomahawk Chop, and second; How long can the team still get away with that name?

          I think both questions will be answered sooner rather than later.

          I’m Steve Sauder

         

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