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Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Are pirate nicknames OK? (Half-serious)

The ongoing story of the Somali pirates has brought the serious legal issue of piracy to the fore, with commentators repeatedly noting the heinousness and seriousness of piracy as a crime, which is lost in the mythos of eye patches and bottles of rum and parrots.

So that led me to wonder, in only half-seriousness (maybe only 37 % seriousness), whether pirate nicknames for sports team have become inappropriate. Obviously they are not racially or ethnically charged or offensive, so people are not going to get worked up about this. Still, it does refer to a class of anti-social people who commit what are widely regarded as crimes against the entire world. Isn't calling your team "Pirates" equivalent to calling it "Hijackers" or "Guerillas" or "Terrorists"? Or at the very least "Armed Robbers"?


While we are half seriously on this subject, I wonder about the use of often deadly or catastrophic natural phenomena as team nicknames. I’m pretty sure we don’t have to worry about hurting a hurricane’s feelings (though I hear earthquakes are notoriously sensitive), but what about the victims of a hurricane? I’d like to see a push for kinder, gentler natural phenomena—perhaps the Carolina Drizzle, or the Miami Gentle Breeze.

Anonymous Gabe Feldman -- 5/12/2009 11:56 AM  

Yes, I agree with Gabe. I will go a step further and say that the term Pirates is clearly racist. An easy remedy, however, would to replace the "r" with an "l" which would promote good stretching and exercise.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 5/12/2009 12:43 PM  

Arrrrrr you serious?

Blogger Prince Johnny -- 5/13/2009 11:42 AM  

How about the Idaho Vandals?

The Holy Cross Crusaders are named after folks who were in the conquering and plundering business.

About a half-dozen colleges and the Tampa entry in the NFL are the Buccaneers.

How about the Gettysburg Bullets? Guns don't kill people; bullets kill people...

Columbia College in California are the Claim Jumpers. That piracy without the boat.

Remember the old San Diego Conquistadores from the old ABL?

California Maritime Academy are the Keelhaulers. Not a freindly gesture to be sure.

You have various teams called Mauraders and Matadors and Leathernecks and Raiders and Valkyries. All of those kinds of folks engage in violent behaviors.

If this movement gets started, there is a lot to change out there...

Anonymous The Sports Curmudgeon -- 5/13/2009 4:07 PM  

Lets not forget those Miami Dolphins... the most feared creature of the dark seas....

and arrrrrrr you serious? That was great, I almost lost it at the office this morning!

Blogger Jimmy H -- 5/13/2009 6:11 PM  

While I won't enter in to the percentile discussion (I've got an issue with math), it's always amused me when some have dissed the WNBA team "names."

I mean, for sheer ferocity, how can you not tremble when the White Sox take the field? And those Blue Coats? Shiver me timbers!

Of course, those of us who love Mr. Alfred's "The Birds" know why we should all, like brave Sir Robin, run away from the Orioles, Blue Jays, Cardinals and (my favorite) Oglethorpes Stormy Petrels.

Blogger Helen -- 5/14/2009 3:20 PM  

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