Political betting is on fire in 2020, with unheard of handles being turned on all things Trump and turmoil.
One such crisis on the latter (that’ll surely be blamed on the former in due time) is the current outrage over professional sports team names in the US.
The NFL’s “Washington Football Team” – formerly the Washington Redskins – finally changed its name after years of controversy due to the BLM protests and general media-driven narrative of rampant racism in the freest country on earth, and other teams are thought to be following suit.
Right now, BetOnline Sportsbook – one of the top sites for Vegas election odds – has recognized the newsworthiness of this nonsense, and they’re offering odds on the major American sports team that will change their name next as a result of the current political climate in the US.
Team To Officially Change Their Name Next
- Cleveland Indians -500
- Kansas City Chiefs +550
- Atlanta Braves +750
- Florida State Seminoles +1200
- Chicago Blackhawks +1400
Some of the above choices probably have some “merit” in the upside-down world of 2020, but others are apparent nonstarters. To make sure you put your money on the best possible option out of this limited batch, scalp your sportsbook with the following hot takes for each listing.
Cleveland Indians Name Change
Along with the Redskins of the NFL, the MLB’s Cleveland Indians have been the target of ire for the woke activists in the media.
“Indians” isn’t a pejorative, of course, nor is it a term of endearment. On the surface, there’s little inherently offensive about the name, except for the three people in the world who are irked by the precolonial Spanish designation of North American natives as “Indians” in the first place.
Poor Chief Wahoo must be turning in his grave.
While the Cleveland baseball team is the best bet here thanks to media hype, should they cave and change their name, there will really be no valid explanation. It’s inoffensive by any metric, even to Native Americans.
Still, if Cleveland wants a recommendation, we suggest “Engines.” A V-8 would be a cool-looking logo for players motoring around the bases, right?
Where’s Albert Belle when you need him?
Kansas City Chiefs Name Change
The NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs just won the Super Bowl, have the hottest star in pro sports under center, and are more or less riding high.
“Chief,” as a term, is inoffensive on its face, and it can only be said to be a term of endearment or symbol of leadership and power, both of which are highly valued attributes for professional athletes and sports teams.
If “Chiefs” is offensive, the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL and Sacramento Kings of the NBA better pay heed and get their own rebranding ready. Historically, Indian Chiefs were fought against by Americans in much the same way that the British King was revolted against and defeated on the bloody battlefield.
Oh yeah, and then there’s this.
Yes, it turns out that “Chiefs” isn’t even a reference to Indians at all. It was the nickname of former KC mayor H. Roe Bartle, who was instrumental in getting the city an NFL team.
Bartle was called “the Chief” due to his massive frame (6’3”, 300 lbs.) but also because he did extensive work as a local leader of the Boy Scouts of America. Somebody cancel this guy, stat!
Our guess? The Chiefs aren’t going to dump their name, but they will likely get rid of the arrowhead iconography on their uniforms and could possibly rename their stadium.
Atlanta Braves Name Change
The spineless Braves of the MLB have announced that they will not be rebranding, but they have – at the same time – banned their fans from performing the celebrated “Tomahawk Chop” popularized by Deion Sanders in the early 1990s (which he brought over from the Florida State Seminoles, where he played college ball).
Given that Atlanta has already publicly stated their resistance to rebranding, we consider them a bad bet. Plus, who doesn’t want to be a brave, anyway? Only cowards, obviously.
Florida State Seminoles Name Change
This one is cute, and we didn’t even include it on our list of team names on the chopping block.
Because the actual, factual, literal Seminole Tribe of Florida approves of the usage of their trademark (yes, “Seminole” is a trademark owned by the tribe) and actually charge the NCAA’s FSU millions of dollars a year for the rights to the name!
If the entity that is supposed to be offended isn’t – and if said entity voluntarily profits besides – there should be no compulsion whatsoever to change the Seminoles to something else.
Of course, people being offended on behalf of non-offended others is something of a modern trend, and that might infect the minds of the leadership of the school and athletic department.
That said, whether or not the team gets rid of the Tomahawk Chop remains to be seen. Also, Doak Campbell Stadium is rumored to be undergoing a potential name change after a petition accusing Campbell of racism went viral in recent weeks.
Chicago Blackhawks Name Change
On Wednesday, the NHL’s Blackhawks officially banned fans from wearing any Native American style headdresses or other paraphernalia with cultural references to Indians.
Naturally, the team stated that they would be barring such fan activity but would not be incurring the massive expense of actually changing their name.
It is difficult to understand the ethics of a professional sports team that – by its very branding – encourages activities and outfits referential to said branding but is at the same time willing to penalize its paying fans for demonstrating that deference and support.
The Blackhawks, like the Braves, are infinitely more offensive than Washington’s erstwhile Redskins ever were, because they refuse to take responsibility and instead wish to pass the buck – and the blame – to their fan base.
But Wait, There’s More!
Interestingly, other teams with no overt problems in their names are also potentially primed to face pushback.
The best example of this is the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles. Their innocuous, cartoony oriole logo – simply dubbed the “Cartoon Bird” – will almost certainly be attacked due to its prominent design of a big orange beak on a black face.
This, of course, looks a lot like the timeless “Sambo” to those who wish to grasp at straws, and we expect the team to revert back to its “Traditional Bird” insignia going forward.
For us – and for many sports bettors – the takeaway from all this is simply that the world is nuts, and sports are no longer an escape from the crushing politics of divide and conquer.
We hope sanity prevails.
But we’re not betting on it.