Dateline 2004: SEMO Chooses Inoffensive, Meaningless Name For New Mascot

Fake News From The Future posted by Martha Throebeck on Tuesday, July 29, 2003

from the more-pointless-than-the-oakland-athletics dept.

The following article may or may not appear in a local newspaper on July 29, 2004:

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- After months of tumultuous debate, the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents voted earlier today to change the school's team name to "The Sportspeople".

"We realized that we simply could not please everybody," explained one board member. "The best we could do was invent something so meaningless, so innocuous, so inoffensive, so trivial that nobody would even notice or care. With this decision behind us, we can now get back to our core athletics program mission: raking in huge sums of money for losing overmatched games against larger schools."

In addition, the Regents voted to change the school's rallying cry to "Who are we? The Sportspeople! What are we? People who play sports! We're a politically correct blend, that strives never to offend! We show our varsity, by embracing our diversity! And even if we happen to win, we never go out and sin! Go Sportspeople!"

The board's decision followed months of angry debate from almost every interest group in the country. American Indian groups obviously hated the existing "Indian" and "Otahkian" names. But animal rights activists were even more vocal against proposals to change the name to something like the "Tigers", "Lions", "Weasels", or "West Nile Carrying Mosquitos".

At a recent televised Board of Regents forum, one PETA (People Embracing Television Attention) spokesperson shouted, "Naming sports teams after animals is degrading to the animals. They have rights and feelings too. Won't somebody please think of the animals?"

Other suggested names were shot down when one group or another came forward to claim they were offended by them. Various anti-war, pro-appeasement groups rallied against names such as the "Warriors", "Crusaders", "Knights", or "Weapons of Mass Destruction" because they were "too militaristic" and "encouraged violence".

Even names such as the "Riverboat Captains" or "Pilots" were not safe from attack by radical environmentalists. "Those names refer to steamboat travel, an industry that led to the devestation of the ecosystems along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri rivers. Meanwhile, steamboats and the steam engine were precursors to the Industrial Revolution, an era that led to untold environmental destruction from which Mother Earth will never recover. We simply cannot tolerate mascots that glorify the destruction of the environment for profit."

"Pioneers", "Explorers", and "Trailblazers" were similarly rejected because they glorified the environemental destruction and cultural domination that took place in the 19th Century during Westward Expansion. "The pioneers were responsible for ending the way of life of Native Americans. And they destroyed the land in the process. Why should we romanticize them?" asked one California liberal who made the trip to Cape Girardeau to protest last month.

Names such as the "Patriots" (not sensitive enough to foreign students), "Monarchs" (too anti-Democratic), "Mavericks" (encourages violence and law breaking), "Lumberjacks" (too masculine), "Saints" (offensive to non-religious types), "Cowboys" (encourages the enslavement of barnyard animals), "Colonels" (too Civil War-ish), "Aggies" (excludes city-dwellers and the outdoors-challenged), and "Titans" (glorifies steroid use and obesity) all didn't stand a chance.

Another brainstorm, "The Show Me'ers", was torpedoed by the Association Of Missourians Sick Of Being Shown Everything, a group that opposes the "Show Me State" nickname because it insinuates that "Missourians are so stupid that they have to be shown how to do everything... We all know the name is more appropriate for Arkansas."

One of the few names that wasn't attacked by critics, "The Hungover Fighting Irishmen", was only rejected because it was already a registered trademark of another school. "Of all the ethnic groups out there, it's always acceptable to slam the Irish," explained one person at a recent Board of Regents meeting. "I don't know why, but everybody loves a good Irish joke. You can tell the same exact joke about another minority group and you'll probably go to jail, but as long as the target is Irish, it's always socially acceptable."

After hours of exhausting debate last night and this morning, one board member suggested in desperation that the university simply decide not to have a mascot at all. "Look at Carbondale," she tried to argue. "Most people just call their team SIU and be done with it. What the heck is a 'Saluki' anyway and why should anybody care?"

The no-name naming idea was defeated, however, when it was pointed out that most people in the community aren't entirely sure what the college is supposed to be called anyway. Explained another Regent, "Officially it's Southeast, but that alone doesn't mean much. Southeast of what? Right now we've got people calling it Southeast, SEMO, and even SEMSU. We really need a mascot."

Realizing that all of the debate was preventing the Board from conducting more important business -- such as raising tuition -- the members finally voted unanimously at 10:23 AM to choose the content-free "Sportspeople" moniker and put the matter to bed.

"With this monumental decision behind us," a college spokesperson said, "we can now embrace a future of gender-neutral, culturally-sensitive, equality-enhanced, minority-inclusive, correctly-political, hyphenated-enriched diversity. Go Sportspeople!"