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Posted: 5/7/2003 11:02:12 AM EDT

Minuteman faces P.C. onslaught

Staff writer

AMHERST - Having stood up bravely to the British more than 200 years ago, the Minuteman is finding he may be no match for 21st century political correctness and marketing savvy at the University of Massachusetts.

By September, the UMass Gray Wolves men's and women's teams may be charging onto the field, while the gun-toting, single-gender Minuteman - a UMass symbol since 1972 - is sent to the showers for good.

Not since the arrow was removed from the pilgrim's hat on the Turnpike signs has such a debate raged over how the Colonial period is being portrayed in modern Massachusetts.

"Am I for the change? I'm for the process," UMass Athletic Director Ian J. McCaw said. That process began with the hiring of Phoenix Design Works of New York City, which introduced the Gray Wolves to eight focus groups involving 85 people.

The passion of the debate has not matched the levels reached in 1972, when the Minutemen nickname replaced the ethnically controversial Redmen name.

But there's no question the discussion level is growing.

"Gray Wolves would be unique in Division I college sports, and it's indigenous to the area," McCaw said. "The design company expressed some concern with the single-gender ethnicity of the Minuteman, and the fact he's carrying a firearm (in the logo) is also a concern."

McCaw said social and practical reasons exist for change. For one thing, the women's teams are called the Minutewomen, even though no colonial Minutewomen ever actually existed.

"In 1972, UMass had 15 men's teams and two women's teams," McCaw said. "Now we have 10 men's and 12 women's teams."

McCaw said the design experts are looking into using two different Gray Wolves logos. One would reflect an aggressive, ferocious animal, suitable for the competitive sports.

The other could be a more child-friendly and marketable animal mascot, which are very popular in sports.

According to Springfield Republican outdoors writer Frank Sousa, however, the portrayal of a cuddly wolf is ridiculous.

"Wolves attack only the sick, injured and helpless," said Sousa, one of the region's foremost outdoors spokesmen.

"Besides, the last gray wolf sighting around here was in the late 1890s, in a barrel outside Thompson's Clothing Store in Amherst after being shot in Northampton," Sousa said. "And those were skinned."

At that heart of this debate is this question: How important is this, really?

"Is (a change) absolutely necessary? Probably not," said UMass lacrosse player Cyndi Doyle, who says her team generally avoids using any nickname at all. "But it's better to be (socially) ahead than behind, and I think we're behind."

Doyle thinks the debate is being waged on geographic rather than gender grounds.

"The people most connected to the Minutemen seem to be Massachusetts residents," said Doyle, of Bridgewater, Vt.

She may be right.

"I think we need something historic," said Mike Warner, a hockey player from Waltham. "And obviously, the Minutemen are part of our history."

It's not obvious to everybody, though.

"To the rest of the country, it's a joke," said football quarterback Jeff Krohn, who transferred from Arizona State in 2002. "No one identifies with it."

Dumping the Minuteman, though, doesn't sit well with one member of an organization synonymous with his history.

"I think this gender-bias stuff has gone way overboard," said Lorinda A. Luce, regent of Northampton's Betty Allen Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. "And as for the firearm issue, I support people having guns."

Phoenix Design's work is expected to cost UMass $10,000.

UMass is the nation's only college that calls its teams the Minutemen. Locally, changes have been made at Springfield College (Chiefs to Pride), Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (Mohawks to Trailblazers) and a high school, Frontier Regional in South Deerfield (Redskins to Redhawks).

The Minuteman may be the next to go.

"Nobody wants something that looks too much like the UConn Husky," Krohn said. "But whatever they pick, I'm sure some people won't like it." Ron Chimelis can be reached at [email protected]
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 11:12:31 AM EDT
More bullshit seems to keep coming everyday
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 11:12:58 AM EDT
I read about this in the local papers. We have a huge budget crunch in this state and they want to go throwing away 10,000.00 on removing an enduring symbol of our freedom. It makes me sick.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 11:17:52 AM EDT
The pussification of America is getting out of hand. I would be proud to attend a college which had a mascot so historically significant. Why must they change the name due to the fact that it does not include women? Can't Americans be proud of their history?

Are there any people out there with a spine? My back bone feels the stress of carrying the load of others.

This freedom we have is a great gift, why must we squander it.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 11:20:31 AM EDT
MA BLOWS STAY AWAY>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 11:22:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 11:46:25 AM EDT
Amherst AKA (West Cambridge) Is also the same town that would not let the American flag fly except for a very few days a year!!!
They also just had a huge college party called the hobart hoe down in which between 15 and 19 LEO were injured!!!
I believe the students also threw rocks and tipped over a LE vehicle!!! and 50+ people were arested
You could not believe the freak liberal population in that area YIKES!!!!
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 12:08:07 PM EDT
Maybe if the Minuteman came out of the closet with his Filipino male lover he could save himself?

And don't huskies love to have sex with gray wolves??

Link Posted: 5/7/2003 12:38:29 PM EDT
The original flintlock muskets from the Revolutionary War that are on prominent display in the Massachusetts legislature have trigger locks mounted on them.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 12:55:23 PM EDT
The original flintlock muskets from the Revolutionary War that are on prominent display in the Massachusetts legislature have trigger locks mounted on them.
View Quote

Not anymore.  That ridiculous aspect of Chapter 180 was repealed in the case of antique and antique reproduction muzzleloaders.  For a while though, you were right.

I'm getting out of this cockamamie state in another month or so.

Link Posted: 5/7/2003 7:14:50 PM EDT
All I can say is WTF!!![furious]

I wonder when it's gonna be illegal not to be gay in MA...
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 7:40:13 PM EDT
its stuff like this that makes me lose hope in this place [:(]
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 9:43:04 PM EDT

Ugh....  get me out of this F-ing state...

Link Posted: 5/7/2003 9:55:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 9:55:58 PM EDT
This reminds me of when St Johns had to change it's name from the Redman to the Redstorm because Redman offended to many Indians.  Funny thing was that the Redman had nothing to do with Injuns.  Same deal with the Wasington Bullets changing their name to the Wizards.  That was due to an assination in Israel I think.  It's so stupid, damn the Minutemen helped form our country. What's next?  A new Marine Corps monument with the Marines planting flowers on Iwo instead of planting a flag?  Maybe lose the rifles and gear from the 3 man Viet Nam memorial and replace them with acoustic guitars, tye dye utulities and bongs.  Damn, I'm running way to low on ammo.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 9:56:54 PM EDT
You should try working over there. Hubby works for U-Mass. I couldn't do it, I would want to kill them all.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 10:03:09 PM EDT
another bunch of PC  wussies
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