Sunday Extra | Childish behavior from anti-Chiefers

Sunday Extra | Childish behavior from anti-Chiefers

By JIM HAYS

Chief Illiniwek was retired on Feb. 21, 2007. He is not coming back.

No amount of chanting or wearing Chief-related clothing will change that. Chief Illiniwek is a thing of the past.

He danced at halftime of football games for decades and for basketball games for some years, but the "last dance" was on Feb. 21, 2007. I was there.

I witnessed many, many Chief dances from the time I was a young boy attending football games in the early 1960s to my college years at the University of Illinois in the mid-'70s to the Rose Bowl season of 1983 to the last dance in 2007.

The Chief was a big part of Illini athletics from 1926 to 2007. My father was in the marching band in the early '30s and played the "Three-in-One" for the Chief all those many years ago.

I have fond memories of the Chief, but that is in the past.

Chief Illiniwek was retired on Feb. 21, 2007. The anti-Chiefers won. The Chief is gone.

But that is not good enough for them.

They want to dictate to Illini fans what kind of clothes they can wear to games and what kind of music the band can play. They want to harass people who don't choose to share their views.

I have an idea for the anti-Chiefers. They should take all their energy — and hate — and apply it to an issue that truly makes a difference in our world. Who "wins" from the incessant attacks on a symbol that was retired 11 years ago? Do they really think their protests really helped anyone? Such acts do nothing except stroke the anti-Chiefers' egos. "Look what I can do: I can yell at people who wear a circular symbol on their clothes."

How totally childish.

Meanwhile, in Florida, 17 families have buried their loved ones while we here at the UI act as if a circular symbol on a piece of clothing is an issue of life and death.

Chief Illiniwek was retired on Feb. 21, 2007. He isn't coming back. And if people choose to wear a circular symbol on their clothes, that is their right. Everyone, please examine your priorities and quit acting like third-graders.

We get enough of that from our politicians.

Jim Hays lives in Champaign.

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myattitude wrote on March 04, 2018 at 5:03 pm

I disagree with the author on one point. The Chief can come back although there may be some modifications. The NCAA does not control this as shown by the universities that still have their Native American symbols. The issue is a board and administration that will allow people to work with a tribe which would most likely be the Peoria Tribe. This has nearly happened with the administration blocking it each time.

What no one is reporting is whether the other universities that kept their Native American symbols/names have this same level of protests against their symbols.

annabellissimo wrote on March 06, 2018 at 11:03 am

It is my strong belief that the only reason the administration and board block it and the only (real) reason that it ever became an issue was money. There is no NCAA, BIG 10 or UIUC money to be made from a real-live person in buckskin and headdress. There is no way that figure could ever be used in product endorsements, in stupid antics as seen in the Big 10 tournament and the other ridiculous cartoon-ish Big Head "mascot" junk used to sell, sell, sell. Maybe some people actually do believe that racism and disrespect are the reasons for banning images of the Chief, but I do not think that has had anything whatsoever to do with the official decisions, the bowing to the NCAA demands and the on-going disinclination to have any open debate or legitimate surveys done on the subject. It is a done deal and the push to force a mascot down the throats of Illini fans will gain strength because a ludicrous Big-Head cartoon is the way to more money.

JohnRalphio wrote on March 05, 2018 at 8:03 pm

First of all, no one wants to dictate what individual fans wear. That would be a giant waste of time, for one thing. What people who are rightly sick of the Chief want is a new mascot and a University that isn't covertly supporting the old racist mascot, by allowing idiots with headdresses into the Assembly Hall.

Secondly, it's the pro-Chief folks who are stamping their little feet, vandalizing property, and bullying protestors.

Thirdly, bringing the Florida shooting victims into this is nauseating insincerity. People can actually care about both moving forward from a racist symbol AND the lack of reasonable gun control in our country, at the same time.

And finally, the fact that Chiefheads complain and complain about their speech being somehow oppressed, routinely threaten to boycott the University, and smugly flaunt their racism, and then turn around and accuse everyone ELSE of being childish...well, that's only to be expected, nowadays.

 

Tom Napier wrote on March 17, 2018 at 12:03 pm

JohnRalphio;

Your response to the subject article is the childish riposte “I’m the rubber and you’re the glue. Everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” This is called projection, defined by the Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology as a “primitive defense mechanism” that involves “the unconscious warding off of negative experiences or emotions by denying an experience, perceiving it in another person and then seeing that negative experience as being directed back at the projector.”  I’ll explain;

"First of all, no one wants to dictate what individual fans wear.”

This is totally, patently wrong; misleading and distortion of demonstrative fact.  It's Steven Kaufman who continuously, persistently, doggedly expresses his objection to people wearing Chief apparel. If this isn’t attempting to dictate what people can and cannot wear, I don’t know what is.

“That would be a giant waste of time …”

I agree with you there. Tell that to Mr. Kaufman.

“Secondly, it's the pro-Chief folks who are stamping their little feet …”

Assigning the diminutive “little” to feet; straight out of the Trump handbook of insulting any and all with whom you disagree (i.e. another primitive defense mechanism).  OR …

It's cultural appropriation, which anti-Chiefers are supposed to abhor, corrupting the name of the legendary band Little Feat.

“…vandalizing property ....”

More distortion of fact. If by vandalizing property you’re referring to the idiot who bent one of Edgar Heap of Birds’ signs on campus, you have a point, That was indeed inexcusible and wrong.  However, one isolated incident does not constitute a behavior on the part of Chief supporters.  Making that blanket accusation is stereotyping.  And you do remember, don’t you, that some anti-Chiefers vandalized the Honor the Chief billboard on Prospect Avenue.  Don't throw stones if you live in a glass house.

“… and bullying protestors …”

Now, this is rich. And patently wrong.  Do you really believe this statement? Wasn’t it the anti-Chiefers who blew up the Homecoming Parade, physically bullying Chief supporters?  Wasn’t it the placard-carrying, hey-hey-chanting protesters who harassed basketball fans who disagree with them? My, how myopia distorts vision.

“Thirdly, bringing the Florida shooting victims into this is nauseating insincerity."

Citing the Florida tragedy iillustrates how absolutely petty, utterly meaningless the Chief protests are compared to a real life-and-death situation. Do you really, really think Chief Illiniwek issue occupies the same moral space as the Florida shooting tragedy?  I would hope not.

"People can actually care about both moving forward from a racist symbol AND the lack of reasonable gun control in our country, at the same time."

Please stay on the rails. You’re grasping at straws.  What’s your point?  People,  both Chief supporters and opponents, can … actually care … about multiple, unrelated issues; the Chief ... AND ... firearms use and misuse.  If you think all Chief supporters are all gun-totin’ RWNJs you’re stereotyping.  Again.  And you’re wrong.  How many Chief supporters do you know who think a high school massacre is a good thing? C’mon man!

“And finally, the fact that Chiefheads complain and complain about their speech being somehow oppressed, routinely threaten to boycott the University, and smugly flaunt their racism, and then turn around and accuse everyone ELSE of being childish...well, that's only to be expected, nowadays.”

You’re projecting. Again.

annabellissimo wrote on March 06, 2018 at 11:03 am

I saw an edition of "Antiques Roadshow" on a PBS station recently in which a participant who brought something to be evaluated by the experts was wearing a navy blue t-shirt with orange accent colors and a large Chief Illiniwek image across the front. This was in a non-Illinois city, but I'm not sure where it was held.