You’ll pardon me while I hit the pause button on the prep football season to address an issue that just won’t go away. And it needs to.
I’m referring to the “controversy” surrounding the Social Circle High School mascot: the Redskins.
In the divisive climate in which we live, I’m sure I don’t have to explain the issue. Suffice it to say that a group of people are asking that the name be banished to the dustbin of history.
Setting aside the debate of whether the name is offensive or inspirational, let’s take a practical approach to the problem. How about a cost-benefit analysis?
First, let’s look at the costs. Undoing a school’s mascot isn’t as simple as erasing a name and replacing it with another. It’s much more complicated, and costly, than that.
Consider Social Circle’s expansive and relatively new athletic complex, which allows its sports programs to play home games on campus rather than at city recreation fields as they did for years. The Redskins name and logo permeate the place. It’s on the artificial turf football field and the digital scoreboard. It’s all over the baseball and softball fields, the field house, weight room and practice facilities.
And don’t forget the uniforms, from helmets and jerseys to ball caps and britches.
Just eliminating the name and logo and replacing it with another would cost many tens of thousands of dollars.
And to what benefit?
Sorry, I’ll have to let someone else speak to those because I simply don’t see any, other than appeasing a group of people who say they feel victimized and marginalized by the name. Nebulous claims of “feeling oppressed” without any actual evidence of discrimination or harassment is hardly cause to bust the budget of a small school system.
I’m particularly puzzled by Social Circle alumni and long-time fans who’ve suddenly decided to speak out against the name, many of whom proudly wore the school’s mascot on their uniforms during their time as student-athletes.
Unlike the former Redskins of the NFL, whose owners have more cash than they can count, the Social Circle School Board doesn’t have a magic money tree growing behind its building. And I doubt area residents are clamoring to see their property taxes raised.
The pandemic has had a devastating effect on public school budgets across the country, and Social Circle is no exception. But even if it were awash in cash, I’m sure there are many better ways the money could be spent than changing mascots.
Kudos to the school board for standing firm on this issue and focusing on problems and solutions that actually impact its constituents.