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Mets attempt to honor Native Americans, end up dissatisfying everyone

Jul 10, 2013, 8:54 AM EDT

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The New York Times reports on an extremely-Mets-like public relations mess.  Seems that the New York Mets wanted to have a Native American Heritage night. That’s good! They reached out to a Native American group for their participation and assistance. That’s good too!

They scheduled it, however, on a day the Braves were in town. That’s not necessarily bad. Could be awkward and interpreted as a stronger statement than the Mets intended to make — an anti-Native American iconography in sports statement as opposed to merely one honoring Native American culture — but my view would be that that’s the Braves problem and if they feel awkward about it maybe it’s their own damn fault for promoting nonsense like the Tomahawk Chop for the past 25 years. If a jerk comes into my house I’m not gonna be two worked up about offending his jerkish sensibilities.

But the Mets, rather than take that approach, just decided to cut off the Native American heritage night at the knees:

So in the past week, concerned that such activities might be interpreted by the Braves organization as a form of protest over its nickname, the Mets drastically reduced the day’s activities: no singing, no dancing. And now there won’t be any American Indians, either.

On Monday, the A.I.C.H. pulled out of the event, citing frustration with the Mets for thwarting months of planning. The team has removed the event from its online schedule of activities.

The Mets did eventually offer alternate dates, but they only did so after A.I.C.H. had made all sorts of plans surrounding the July 25th event.

Way to go, Mets. That’s some bang-up community outreach.

  1. missthemexpos - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Next up for the Mets, a special non-alcohol game when the Milwaukee Brewers come to town, oh wait some in the Brewers organization might interpret that as a form of protest over its nickname!

    • icanspeel - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      I’d definitely protest a non-alcohol game.

      • chip56 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        I think asking people to watch the Mets without alcohol is cruel.

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      the Mets should let the Cleveland Indians play the Atlanta Braves on
      Native Indian heritage night, I’m sure the Native Indians would love this so much.

      maybe the Redskins and Chiefs can do the same for the NFL too.

  2. burm61 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Like anyone in the Braves organization would care. They’d just laugh and think of their bank account statements.

  3. skids003 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    If the Angels come to town, will that offend atheists? Or the Giants, that might offend big people. Or the Reds, that might offend people who blister easily. Or the Yankees, that might offend Northeners. Where does it end?

    • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      Don’t be ridiculous pre-coffee.

      • skids003 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:28 AM

        histrio, everything offends someone these days. We just don’t seem to know how to deal with it and move on.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        Well, you seem pretty offended by the whole thing, so why don’t you go first and let it go? Just laugh at the Mets’ PR team for being stupid and crack some jokes about how they could use some Amway to clean the mess up or something.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        The record is skipping.
        Please God make her stop!

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        You know the way to make it stop.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        But that’s just it. We disagree. I don’t feel he is being petty at all. I think he did a marvelous job of pointing out how truly ridiculous (to the point of almost being sad) the whole thing is. Sort of a “I am offended at you taking offense” sort of thing.

        RAGE!

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        I think it’s sad that you feel Native Americans are being ridiculous in asking people not to portray them negatively, if that’s what you mean. Now, if y’all were saying that you thought the Mets were being silly in worrying about the Braves’ feelings, I would be with you on that. But, I didn’t think that was skids’ point, as the Mets weren’t offended. They were trying not to offend…someone who is offensive. And, that’s a whole other buffalo.

      • skids003 - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:57 AM

        histrio, if I leave out Mr. Clean or other cleaners by using Amway, I might offend them, so I’ll just say I’m letting it go.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        Now you’re just acting like the Mets. lol

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:12 AM

        I don’t want to cover the whole Native American thing again Philiac.
        It wears me out. Physically…it tires me.
        You know my background. You are aware of me being immersed in their culture.
        And you also know I personally have never met one Indian who disliked the nicknames “Braves,” “Indians,” “Redskins,” “Chiefs,” “Illini,” “Chippewas,” etc…
        To the contrary…the reveled in it. They felt it honored them.
        I actually know Indians who are fans of these particular teams because of the nicknames. In Lawton, OK…no less.
        Gasp! I know. Hard to believe.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        You’re willful refusal to hear people’s complaints drives me crazy. But I see that it’s pointless to argue with you because you obviously don’t care that it hurts people’s feelings — and that makes me think differently of you. We’ll leave it at that.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        I didn’t realize we were arguing. But…okay.
        I couldn’t put a number on the amount of Indian’s I lived with, hung out with, socialized with AT POW WOW’s, etc…
        Put it this way…it was me (a white dude) and two brothers-in-law (a black dude and a Mexican). Everyone else? Indian’s. Not once…did any of them complain or otherwise express their feelings being hurt. Again…to the contrary. They reveled in those teams’ names. They backed those teams as a direct result of their names. Therefore, the “willful refusal” is simply not their. Cause’ I haven’t “heard the complaints.” Hyperbole.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        http://nmai.si.edu/connect/seminars-and-symposia/archive/

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/04/04/cleveland-aim-again-protest-progressive-field-opening-game-148511

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/redskins/2013/05/09/native-americans-washington-mascot-fight/2148877/

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127987743

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2013/01/18/oklahoma-congressman-calls-redskins-name-very-offensive/

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        http://thislandpress.com/roundups/red-slur-debate-hits-home-in-oklahoma/

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        http://espn.go.com/otl/americans/harjochat.html

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        http://www.nativevillage.org/Messages%20from%20the%20People/timeline%20for%20Indian%20Mascots.htm

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Indian_mascots_hurtful_to_Native_Americans/20090425_65_a15_itisun920426

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        http://www.thenativepress.com/sports/mascots.php

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        Okay…first link (nmai) appears to be a symposium conducted by the APA (American Psychological Association). Unless I missed something…fail!
        Will get back to you on the others. Good stuff. I really enjoy this. I mean that.

    • sdelmonte - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Don’t forget that the Reds had to change their name to the Redlegs during the McCarthy years.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:46 AM

        Apparently, we are still fighting against godless communism.

        GOD BLESS AMERICAAAAAAA/LAND THAT I LURRRVVVV…

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        What if they just excluded ” to the praires ” ? Would that be enough?

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        No, the whole song is insipid and shallow. Add the petty public display of religion and patriotism and it’s unsalvageable. Also, every Christian who participates should probably be assigned remedial Sunday School (today’s lesson: Matthew 6).

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:14 AM

        So, Christian Bale too then?

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        I don’t know much about him, so I couldn’t say.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Well played Skids. Well played.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        That was not well played. “people who blister easily”? That’s beyond silly. He’s being ridiculous.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        You are incapable of admitting as much. I realize that. But I actually laughed out loud. I thought he was going another way with the Reds…sorta’ go with a “Redlegs” angle. Nope. Blisters. Hahaha!

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:35 AM

        He’s just being petty and then trying to claim other people are petty.

        Be the change you want to see in the world. The only person you can control is you.

      • skids003 - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        Thanks Stlouis. I was trying to point out how ridiculous it’s gotten.

      • apmn - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:17 AM

        Not well played. He just reused the same BS argument that idiots on PFT make in the Redskins name-change threads, but with baseball teams instead of Vikings. At least he skipped the stupider ones about animals being offended by team names like the Tigers.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        I guess a well-played retort is one that embellishes the lack of understanding which people object to, thereby objecting to other people’s objections by delegating the objections and the people who make them as petty and ridiculous.

        Remember Pong? Option 3 was the 2-paddle game. Playing alone, one could easily hit the ball back and forth between the two front paddles, thereby causing a lot of noise on the TV and with no end in sight infinitum.

    • mrgjg - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      It doesn’t end skids, never.

  4. steelers88 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    ooh sorry.

  5. Panda Claus - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    I was half expecting the Mets to announce they were changing their name to the Redskins as a way to make it up to this group of Native Americans.

  6. historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Did the people planning the event not have access to the team schedule when they picked the date? I mean, you can look it up online any number of places if you need it. Or, some peon pulled the best punk on his boss ever.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      We are making progress. 2nd link was the April protest in Cleveland. Appears four people attended. Not making lite…I promise. It holds far more credence (to me) than the 1st think.
      Even if it is only four people.

  7. sdelmonte - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    These heritage days are, in general, rather silly. I once stumbled on to what used to be billed as Jewish Heritage Day (now rebranded Celebrate Israel Day). There was some Israeli folk dance group on the field before the game, and a ceremony at home plate with an Israeli diplomat, and really very little else that made the day seem at all interesting to baseball fans. At the very least, they should have rounded up a retired Jewish player to throw out the first pitch and show highlights of Art Shamsky. (Koufax would have too much to hope for.)

    The really funny thing is that in theory, the day should have been promoted widely to every synagogue and Jewish community center in the area, but the number of groups from such places was about the same as usual. Then again, it’s really hard to go to a sporting event here without a dozen such groups in attendance even for the most meaningless game along with the three dozen church groups, and so on. And there is pretty good kosher food at Citi every day (except the sabbath).

  8. dondada10 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Couldn’t this have been resolved with one phone call?

    “Hey, person who ranks highly in the Braves organization. It’s me, the Mets. We’re gonna have a night honoring Native Americans while you’re in town. Just so you know, that’s a coincidence and not meant as a form of protest against your name.”

    “Thanks for the call, sir. We don’t give a shit either way.”

    • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      Or, at an in-house meeting:

      “Hey, it looks like we scheduled Native American night when the Braves are here. They might be upset.”
      “Eh, we don’t give a shit either way.”

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        Thanks Philiac. I will be sure to read the links when I get a couple of hours.
        While I still won’t personally know any Indians that are offended…
        I will at least know there are a few that do perhaps take offense to it.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      Exactly Don! I was just going to post something to the affect of the Braves not giving a shit.

  9. rbj1 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Next up for the Mets, African-American heritage night, hosted by Paula Deen.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      C’mon now, if you’re going to do it, ” hosted by David Duke.”

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        But, there’ll be fried butter dogs if Deen does it.

      • blacksables - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        How about White Heritage Night, hosted by Al Sharpton.

  10. aceshigh11 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      The “Indian giver” episode!

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      Did you see the look in her eyes? I know that look. I know it very well.

      • paperlions - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        We all do, man, we all do. It’s always funny when it isn’t happening to you.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        Yeah really Paper. I was really just referring to my ex-Wife (1/2 Comanche & 1/2 Kiowa). But your point is taken. It applies certainly applies to everyone.

  11. nelsonsaint - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Put Mr. Met in warpaint and a headdress. Problem solved.

  12. richtl711 - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Didn’t New Yorkers give the Indians $28 in beads to go way? I like how someone posted a Seinfeld episode as proof that there is at least one Indian still in N.Y.

  13. thebadguyswon - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Yaaaawn. Non story.

  14. gin4life2006 - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    my daughter graduated with a degree in communications – specifically sports journalism. she can’t find a job, but this guy – who doesn’t know the difference between “two” and “too” can.

    i.e., If a jerk comes into my house I’m not gonna be two worked up about offending his jerkish sensibilities.

    there is no justice in this world.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      So your supposition is that he did not know the difference between “two” and “too”? Your belief is that it was not a typo, it was that he did not know the difference?

      I think your daughter would disagree with you.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      Come on Gin. Everyone (including you)…knows it was a typo.

    • paperlions - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      Well, “this guy” does have a law degree and has passed the bar exam.

      FWIW, a communications degree is barely worth the paper it is printed on. Most people that get into sports journalism start off as volunteers or do so by starting their own blog or contributing to one to showcase their abilities. No one gets a “sports journalism” degree and magically gets a job doing it anymore (if they ever did)….far too much competition and far too informed a public for that model to still work.

  15. hbk72777 - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    STOP KISSING EVERY BODIES ASSES. No matter what, whitey will always be wrong, they group that we’re trying to help or honor will always find something to bitch about. Just stop it.

    • tmarlin1221 - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      at least they don’t have them running around with spears and making hand to face sounds as if it was the white man that was the victim.

  16. stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    “Remember Pong? Option 3 was the 2-paddle game. Playing alone, one could easily hit the ball back and forth between the two front paddles, thereby causing a lot of noise on the TV and with no end in sight infinitum.”

    Sandy: This is outstanding! Possibly the best post of the day. Thanks for sharing.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      Mets are going to honor birds next time St. Louis is in town!

  17. jimeejohnson - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Native Americans sold Manhattan for around $24. They got screwed by NYers then, and they got screwed by the Mets, now.

    • tmarlin1221 - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      if they sold it, how did they get screwed ? I sold apple stock at 100 dollars and it’s 400 now, so I guess I got screwed too ?

      • shadowcell - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        that depends. did you have your $400 taken away and get exiled to a lifeless scrap of North Dakota after having your family murdered and your entire heritage destroyed and your children stolen to be raised by a different family in a different society?

  18. jabbadonut - Jul 11, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    This statement by Mr. Calcaterra demonstrates his bias: ” an anti-Native American iconography in sports. So called “Native Americans,” are NOT native to America (the various tribes are descendents of people who migrated here from Asia). Calling a team the Braves, or Indians, is no more dishonorable than calling a team the Patriots or 49er’s, for example. This idiocy regarding “offending” “Native Americans” is nothing more than political correctness run amok. I am tired of it. Get a clue, Mr. Calcaterra. By the way, my great-great grandmother on my mother’s side of the family was a Cherokee. How much “Native American” heritage do you have, Craig?

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