- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2001

It's a long way from the unflattering stereotypes of TV's "F-Troop" to Little League baseball's use of such terms as "Indians" and "Braves" but the relentlessly tedious and endlessly aggrieved forces of political correctness can see no difference. Or pretend not to. This is the nut of the tussle between Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening's nine-member Commission on Indian Affairs and the Germantown Athletic Club of Maryland, which organizes 72 Little League teams throughout the state.
The Indian affairs panel, which has an annual budget of $50,000 and which was created, ostensibly, to "advance issues involving American Indians and promote awareness of Indian culture," decided to organize a sour-puss boycott of the Little League teams to protest the supposedly derogatory use of such terms as "Indians" and "Braves" as team names. The Germantown club has already knuckled under as a result of the threat and announced last weekend that it would suspend the use of these supposedly hurtful names for the coming fall season and replace them with what? The Gelded Giraffes? The Zippy Cinder Blocks?
Meanwhile, the justifiably outraged supporters of the Little League teams have appealed to Mr. Glendening and urged him to defend them against this ridiculous assault (and feigned indignation) ginned up by professional agitators who see red in the most innocent and inoffensive things imaginable.
How is either team name discriminatory? "Braves" connotes nothing but positive attributes: strength, courage, endurance and so on. Would it similarly be hateful towards those of Danish or Swedish descent to name a sports team after the Vikings? And what about "Indians"? While "Indian" may have no antecedent in the language of the Iroquois or other tribes, neither does "Native American." And more to the point, "Indian" is not an offensive or opprobrious term. It's about as neutral as such terms come freighted with neither positive nor negative connotations.
Troy Barker, president of the Germantown Athletic Club, told this newspaper's Matthew Cella that he (rightly) resents the implication that Maryland Little League teams discriminate against those of Indian descent because some of those teams had Indian-related names and motiffs. "Please, we're just running a youth baseball league," he said. He is demanding the boycott be lifted and that the members of the Commission on Indian Affairs apologize for accusing the Little League teams of practicing anything other than fastballs and good fielding.
It falls to Mr. Glendening to fend off the unwarranted assault as neither he nor his busybodies have evidence of wrongful treatment.

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