The Utes Name and Drum and Feather Mascot Have Had Their Time…


Editors Note: I’m working with the nice fellas at Taxi Squad Podcast to discuss all sides of the Utah Logo/Mascot issue.  To read their position, please go here.

Now I know this won’t be popular and heaven knows I’m in a tiny minority on this one, but it is time for the University of Utah to simply move on from this one.  Now before you call me several names and ban my blog forever at least listen, I think that I make a pretty compelling argument.  So take a moment, read my reasons and then call me names and ban my blog.

1.  I’m tired of dealing with the Ute tribe.  It starts with this article by the Salt Lake Tribune claiming that essentially the University hasn’t given them enough money for the use of their sacred symbols.  Either allowing us to put your sacred symbols on panties is right or wrong and no amount of money should change that.  If you know the story about how Swoop came to be, it wasn’t the PC Police, it was the tribe making noise about how much money and how many scholarships they should get.  Then president Arthur Smith took a hard stance about this and thus began the preparations for a logo change.  I’m tired of being held up by the tribe for a mascot and a logo.

2.  The Ute name and Logo don’t have nearly the tradition we act as if they do.  Until the early 1970’s the name of Utes and Redskins were both used to describe our athletic teams.  In fact one of the things that makes me proud of this University is they were one of the first entities in the nation to realize how wrong the name Redskin is.  Frankly they should had done away with any Native-American imagery.  In fact the name of my blog is a bit of a joke about that.  Do any of you know we used to have a little Indian boy mascot named Hoyo?  Utah has no uniform continuity, no single logo we’ve used, so to fight for one of them now seems silly.

3.  Our fans hands are tied creatively.  We have a nickname that we can’t do anything to dress like in the stands.  Well I mean we can and some do, but they look like ignorant racists.

4.  But I think the biggest reason for me is that these mascots come from a time when we didn’t respect the Native-Americans.  Essentially using the Ute name or Indian or anything related came from a place as thinking of them as no better than the animals other schools use for mascots.  And that is a simply reality I can never get past.  I am glad our University has done so much to rid itself of offensive imagery, at the end of the day it still feels wrong.  And like using the Confederate Flag at Ole Miss, it’s a chapter I’d like to see the school turn the page on.

5.  (Note: This is an edition to the original article, but may be the best reason of all)  As long as we have a tribal council that votes on whether we can use the Ute name and what imagery we can use.  And this permission can be revoked at any time.  Any new use of the logo can be objected to, as can old uses.  You can’t run a multi-million dollar business when you don’t control your own branding.  No company in America would put up with this and it’s time we move along as well.

And if there is one thing that you people can spare me, it’s that you want the Ute Mascot because you have so much honor and reverence for this awesome culture.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but you come off sounding like a jackass and most people think you’re lying, which you probably are.

So there you go.  Now you can call me names and quit my blog forever.