On Saturday, one day prior to the Super Bowl, NBC News ran an op-ed in which the writer accused Kansas City Chiefs fans of racism, stating, “Native American mascots might be the last form of traditional American racism that people of every color and creed will rush to support and defend. On any given Sunday during the regular NFL season — right there in the stands — one can find a black guy in a headdress, a white guy in redface, and a Latino or Asian duo tomahawk chopping with one hand and gripping an overpriced alcoholic beverage in the other.”
Simon Moya-Smith, a self-described contributing writer for NBC News, which describes him as “an enrolled citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation and a Chicano writer and journalist,” bemoaned the actions of Chiefs fans, opining that at the AFC Championship Chiefs’ fans engaged in a “most brutal and vicious display” as they “whooped while donning fake feathered headdresses, people war-painted their faces and, in that baleful Kansas City tradition, the game began with the beating of that hideous faux “Indian” drum.” Moya-Smith continued, “As its deep boom echoed throughout the stadium, fans performed the tomahawk chop en masses and joined in on that half-witted tomahawk chop ‘chant.’”
Moya-Smith cited a 2005 opinion from the American Psychological Association urging an immediate ban on all Native American mascots. He related a story about confronting a Chiefs fan and telling him Indian mascots dehumanized indigenous people.
Moya-Smith wrote, “Native American mascots commodify indigenous peoples and our cultures; they make us and our heritage into images and words and logos to be sold by white people to other non-Native people. It’s a complete and utter appropriation for profit by others.” He theorized that “such national displays of racism and arrogance on broadcast TV and call it good ol’ American fun, but little do they know (and maybe you don’t either) that there’s a seedy underbelly to that ‘fun,’ and it puts Natives in serious physical danger.”
Moya-Smith claimed he has visited sports bars in Washington D.C., asserting, “ … into which Native Americans cannot go during football season without sending at least one fan of the city’s racist-themed football team into a vicious rage, barking things like, ‘Keep the name! and ‘I’m a quarter Cherokee and I don’t have a problem with it, you P.C. libtard!’”
He claimed a bartender told him, “Just go somewhere else. We don’t want that kind of trouble here,” then adds, “I should never have been asked to leave just to accommodate the anger of some racists — but I was.”
And that’s where we will be again on Sunday: The discrimination of Natives will continue, and on the main stage. We will be mocked and told to “get over it.” We will be commodified and told things like “we’re honoring you.” But I am here to ruin the party, because that party harms the mental health and stability of kids. Children should be valued over mascots and definitely over cheap team loyalty – every time. Decent people don’t harm kids and they certainly don’t enable anything that would.