Earlier this summer I visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio with my father (who is in his 70’s) and my daughter (who is 10). . I love the Jim Thorpe statue and the Hall of Fame Gallery’s bronze busts. I refreshed my sports memory, learned a bit about history and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Hall of Fame through both my father’s and my daughter’s eyes.
I have long been aware of the critique of sports teams that appropriate or distort names and/or images associated with Native Americans. After all, one of my childhood hometown teams was the Cleveland Indians. It would be hard to find someone from Cleveland who is not aware of the critique. Before visiting the Football Hall of Fame, though, I had never considered the number of pro sports teams that have animal names and logos. In the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s “Teams of the NFL” exhibit, Jacksonville Jaguars’ logo caught my eye. Then I noticed the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, the Seattle Seahawks. But it was the Jacksonville logo to which I returned. Why is it that I had never noticed the distortion of this animal image? Is it because, after a childhood of Warner Brothers cartoons, I’m accustomed to images of animals that don’t look like animals that one would find in nature? Do I tolerate distortions in animal images that I would find objectionable in human images? And would a National Geographic-esque photo of a jaguar work as a logo? Am I asking the wrong questions? Am I sensing an issue where there isn’t one?
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law Tagged: | animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal images, animal law, animal mascots, animals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Tigers, Jacksonville Jaguars, jaguars, Native Americans, NFL, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Seattle Seahawks