Tuesday, 28 April 2009

State of...Nighthawks

Please tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Nighthawk”. Hate right? No? How about racist? Still no? Hmmm…what about anger? If none of these terms seem to immediately apply then please consider yourself a very small part of the country who didn’t know that the term “Nighthawk” refers to security person with the Klu Klux Klan. I had no idea myself.

Now, before I get into the subject at hand, let me give some background into my family (just so we’re on the up and up). I come from a large family with several different cultures. I grew up with foster siblings from all over the place, including Ghana and other parts of Africa. My multi-culture household was a very close, loving, open family. I wouldn’t change my youth for anything as I believe it helped make me who I am today.

So, back to the topic of the day. Normal is a town in central Illinois with a population of about 50,000. They have recently been given a baseball franchise in the Frontier League and have decided to allow the public to help decide on a name. The finalists for the new team were announced last week and they included: Normal Nutz, Normal Cornbelters, Normal Nighthawks, and Normal Coal Bears.

Speculation is/was that the last name was a direct attempt to gain popularity by Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, host of the Colbert Report (silent “t” on both words). As you can imagine, drama ensued and Normal Coal Bears were flooded with loyal viewers and took an early lead. Then someone apparently hacked into the voting system and voted for Normal Nutz a few hundred thousand times. Both Nighthawks and Cornbelters received only a few votes (3,200 and 540 respectively).

Then, it was brought to the teams attention that the term Nighthawk had ties to the KKK. Enough people raised concerns to team President Steve Malliet that he decided to take the name out of the running. “I am grateful to the good people of Normal West High School and others in the community for letting us know that Night Hawk is a position of responsibility in the Klu Klux Klan,” stated Malliet.

My issue isn’t whether or not Malliet made the right decision to remove the name from the running. I think that he probably DID the right thing here. The term, while not popularly known as a hate word, caused offence to enough people in the town of Normal that it had to be done. These are the people who will support the team during the upcoming seasons. You need to have the town behind you in order to start a professional team, especially a minor league one.

My issue is more about the people who complained about the term Nighthawk. Really?!?! Are you the same people who only bake ‘Gingerbread People’? I had to search to find out that the term had any connection to the hate group. And I went to school in Illinois so it’s not like you can claim it’s a widely popular term in your area. A Nighthawk is an actual bird too. Did you know that? Maybe we should change the name of the bird too? God forbid a birdwatcher vocalizes the “N” word when he sees said bird. No doubt our ears would immediately start to bleed.

We should also petition the Ironwood Ridge High School to change the name of their mascot; currently the Nighthawks. Surely that town is full of racists and they purposely selected that name to show how much hatred they have. What about the Nighthawk Radiology? They participate in the horrific act of “providing high-quality, cost-effective services to radiology groups and hospitals throughout the United States.” GASP! Oh the horror! Or even worse, Nighthawk Energy who is “a dynamic UK registered energy company with a focus on the development of, and production from, hydrocarbon projects in the USA.” I had no idea that the KKK was so prolific and progressive with their technology. Surely we are only moments away from being taken over by these Neanderthals.

The team did the right thing in changing their name. They’re a start up team and didn’t need the picket lines and book burnings that were surely to ensue upon Opening Night. But seriously, isn’t it time that you people moved on with your life and found something productive to do? I hear that the terms “Chaplain”, “Titan”, and “Dragon” are all also terms that have ties to the KKK. That would allow you to shutdown many religions, several sports teams, and fairytails all at once. Go forth and complain!

And oh yeah....PLAY BALL!!!!

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