Back in 2012 “the NCAA banned [the University of North Dakota] from hosting postseason tournaments and said the school could not use the nickname or logo in postseason play, or else it must forfeit those games. The men’s hockey team wore Sioux-logo jerseys in the regular season but switched sweaters in the playoffs.” Apparently the name “Fighting Sioux” is offensive to some people even though one Sioux tribe in North Dakota asked the school to keep the nickname.
A good summary of the history of the dispute is here but the suggestion the author makes at the end that the team adopt the nickname “flickertail,” a type of squirrel native to North Dakota, seems lame. Ain’t many people going to be happy shouting: “Go You Flickertails!”
In order to avoid having the team called the flickertails as the professor who wrote the article would like, I’m asking my vast coterie of readers to help the folk of North Dakota come up with a suitable nickname for its university teams. April is the time that the suggestions for a new nickname be submitted to the “new nickname committee.” (I’m not sure what happened to the old nickname committee.) It is reported that: “UND President Robert Kelley recently tasked the new nickname committee with narrowing the public’s suggestions to three nickname options for a public vote in May.”
I have a few suggestions that you may want to pass on if they meet your approval. Immediately the name “Riggers” comes to mind. I say that because of the North Dakota oil economy. I read: “Unemployment Rate: 2.8% — Bismark’s stunningly-low unemployment rate is in part a reflection of the oil-fueled economic boom North Dakota has experienced over the past two years.”
Why not honor the oil riggers that have brought this booming prosperity to the state? You could even add the word “fighting” to the name which probably would be good otherwise just calling them riggers would seem to indicate that all their games were fixed, you know, like “the game was rigged.”
A reason why Riggers would be good though is that it would suggest inclusivity. You know how you hear the word riggers and you think of those brawny guys with ten gallon hats or skinny tight muscled men working on the oil rigs. If the women teams are also called riggers you are taking away the male only connotation to the word. This will help us to eliminate stereotypes associated with names to minimize the perception of male/female differences.
Saying this, I must admit being a little bit of surprised when I heard Mr. Inclusive Harry Reid say of the Senate: “This place is so much better because of women. Men and women are different.” No wonder he’d retiring. It must have come of a shock to him to discover that.
If you don’t like Riggers, I’d was thinking of suggesting the university adopt a name used to describe lawyers who bring legal actions in court: “suers” which is close to the old nickname Sioux until I was reminded the word is too close to the word “sewer” and some suggest that is only an appropriate nickname for where the members of some law firms reside.
I decided against “suers” but went from that to what the nickname which is “lawyers.” Then when the team takes the field or the ice or the court the fans can still yell “Sioux” and pretend they are yelling “Sue.” We know that Brandeis teams are called the “judges” so it wouldn’t be too lame to be called lawyers.
But why beat around the bush. North Dakota University should use the nickname for Susan or Suzanne which is Sue. Some would suggest it was too feminine but you have to remember Johnny Cash’s song: “A boy named Sue.” Also, adding the word “fighting” to it would give it a machismo sense. After long thought I intend to submit to President Robert Kelley’s committee the name “Fighting Sue.”
I’m not sure you can do better. Nevertheless I ask you to send your suggestions to the new committee so that the dreadful name “flickertail” is not imposed upon the university athletes by the politically correct faculty.
In the meantime I am left with two puzzlements. First, how come the Florida State Seminoles have never been threatened by the NCAA like the North Dakota Fighting Sioux? The other matter that I’m in a quandary over is whether I should be insulted by Notre Dame using the name “Fighting Irish.” I used to like the name but when I think that Fighting Sioux is offensive to some I wonder why Fighting Irish isn’t offensive to me. After all, us Irish are such a peaceful group.