Yael T. Abouhalkah

Sonic’s mistake embarrasses KC Chiefs, too

Updated: 2013-12-11T00:37:08Z

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kansas City Star

Most everyone seems to agree the Washington “Redskins” is an offensive football nickname.

That’s why the Sonic billboard in Belton, which talked about wanting to “scalp the Redskins” on Sunday, is problematic. It feeds into negative stereotypes about American Indians.

Still, Sonic’s mistake — reportedly made by an employee and quickly taken down — spotlights part of the problem with the name of the Kansas City “Chiefs.”

Some in the Indian movement who are trying to wipe out the Redskins name have concerns about other nicknames around the sport, including the Chiefs, as I noted in a post a few weeks ago.


True, the Chiefs name is not as out of touch with reality as is Redskins.

However, fan behavior is something else. And that behavior is driven by the fact that Kansas City’s football team is named the Chiefs.

Getting dressed up in Indian gear for a Chiefs game when you’re not Indian? Embarrassing.

Using the “chop” during a Chiefs game, to indicate you are going to harm someone with a tomahawk? Stupid.

And imitating Indian war cries? Inane.

Cue up the “it’s all in good fun” arguments. Bring on the “everyone does it” at other games where Indian-named teams (Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, etc.) are playing.

But the simple fact is that having an Indian-themed nickname brings out the worst behavior in some fans, whether it’s about the Washington Redskins or the Kansas City Chiefs.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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