- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2001

Members of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs apparently are straining to find targets of bigotry, if their squabble with the big, bad Germantown Athletic Club is any indication.
The commission and athletic club are embroiled in a politically contrived joust of sorts because of the team nicknames "Braves" and "Indians," two seemingly benign monikers.
It was the athletic club's misfortune to have seven out of 72 Little League baseball teams with either the nickname "Braves" or "Indians."
This amount of cultural insensitivity prompted the members of the commission to reach for the smelling salts before dialing 911.
Or so it would appear.
You know how the game is played in these ultrasensitive times. You feign indignation. You talk to anyone who will listen. You pull out a hanky to dab at the tears on your face. Everyone, by the old executive order of Bill Clinton, is then obligated to feel your pain.
The commission, through mouthpiece Richard Regan, is against the nicknames because of their offensiveness, which probably comes as a shock to anyone who ever has bothered to look up the words in the dictionary.
It seems sticks and stones may still break your bones in the new millennium, but words — even innocent words — merit an appointment with a highly trained psychotherapist who pauses at all the right moments.
Upside-down as the controversy is, the commission is as guilty as the athletic club. It, after all, is the Commission on Indian Affairs.
But that is not the point. Being able to reason is never the point in the culture of victimology.
The athletic club has tried to be responsive to the commission's cries of protest, electing to suspend the use of the nicknames in the fall. Not surprisingly, the decision barely eased the torment and hurt swelling up inside the commission members.
No, these increasingly powerful nicknames, the "Braves" and "Indians," have to be dispatched to the dustbin of history, where they no longer will be in a position to destroy the hearts and minds of Americans, aboriginal or otherwise.
Until the athletic club excises forever the use of these nicknames from its operations, the commission is urging consumers to boycott the businesses that sponsor teams. One other thing: If the measure is implemented, the commission — Mr. Regan in particular — wants to see it in writing just to be sure.
Excuse the officers of the athletic club if they feel they are out of their league in this matter.
Here's what they do in their free time: They line ballfields. They make up game schedules. They secure umpires. They rotate parents to work the concession stand. They give back to the community. It's not easy. It's not perfect. No formal environment that involves the dreams and hopes of parents and youths is ever flawless.
But the intentions are fairly noble, the overall good of such programs obvious, and the alternative is more idle time for youths who don't always make the best decisions when idle.
So here is a politically appointed commission dragging a volunteer organization into its world of hot air and bureaucratic chest-thumping.
Oddly enough, if the commission is looking to justify its existence and importance, spoiling for a fight, it has gone to the wrong exit on the Beltway. Not too far from Germantown along the Beltway, in the fine state of Maryland, is an NFL team that insists on disparaging the natives of this land.
The team does not mean to do it. At least that has been its defense over the years. Just about everyone in the region has weighed in on the subject over the years. One of these seasons, I suspect, NFL bylaws aside, the franchise is going to adopt a new nickname, possibly one that carries a price tag, in the spirit of naming rights and the ownership.
Of course, if it goes down that way, the ownership will claim it is making the change not because of monetary concerns but because of its heightened sensitivity to all people, not just those with ample amounts of Benjamin Franklins.
Get to it, commission.
Follow the signs on the Beltway to Landover, formerly known as Raljon.

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