Rarely does the sports world find itself in bed with the politically correct crowd. And rarely should it.
Astroturf and domed stadiums were bad enough - do we really want to start putting injured players on the Differently Abled List?
But every once in a while, even the most primitive methods of macho sublimation could stand a little contemporizing. Case in point: For years now, more-enlightened sports fans have bristled at the officially sanctioned slurs against American Indians that continue to haunt nearly every professional and amateur league.
Any why not? Would anyone tolerate the Washington Redskins if they were renamed with an equivalent slur against blacks? What about that inane ritual among Atlanta Braves fans of simulating a "scalping" motion to rally the team? What if fans of the LA Wetbacks pretended to jump the border every time someone stole a base?
So it was long overdue when the NCAA (National College Athletic Association) recently announced that American-Indian mascots will be banned from postseason tournaments starting next spring.
While far from popular, the move spurred the kind of culturally poignant debate not often seen in the sports world. Fans may get mad about steroids or the designated-hitter rule, but those issues hardly require a serious look in the mirror or a hard questioning of loyalty. This argument was due to graduate from the abstract.
So congratulations to the NCAA for taking one of sports' most important debates out of the papers and onto the playing field. This is one situation where we hope the professionals learn something from the amateurs.
3. On the right track