King Kaufman's Sports Daily

Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers beats up a cameraman. Tough week for the media. Plus: Hey, Marquette, what's wrong with "Warriors"?

By Salon Staff
Published June 30, 2005 7:00PM (EDT)

"It's been a tough week for Kenny Rogers," said ESPN's John Buccigross on "Baseball Tonight" Wednesday.

Rogers missed a start Tuesday because of a broken pinkie incurred when he punched out some water coolers after being pulled out of a game June 17, poor guy. Then he had an "altercation" with some TV news cameramen before the Rangers-Angels game in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday night. That is to say, he attacked them.

Tough week for Kenny Rogers? How about a tough week for the Fourth Estate?

First we have the Supreme Court consigning a couple of reporters to jail for not selling out their confidential sources in the interest of pretty much nothing.

Then we have a 40-year-old toddler sending a photog to the hospital and wrecking his work tools after first shoving another photog, and before threatening still others with the same thing. This was in the service of Rogers being "frustrated" over his self-inflicted booboo and the losing of some baseball games.

Rangers manager Buck Showalter used that word, "frustrated." Showalter said, "Kenny just wants to win and be a contributor." It's easy to see how knocking photographer Larry Rodriguez's camera off his shoulder to the ground, twice, and sending him to the E.R. for a treat and release accomplishes those goals, isn't it?

After all, the media -- you know, the people who provide Rogers' employers with acres and tons of free publicity every day, directly leading to his being a millionaire -- disobeyed his command of the previous night, "Get those cameras out of my face!"

Imagine the cheek. Disobeying commands like that. Don't they realize this is Kenny Rogers? Not the singing chicken guy, the other one.

This is the second time this year a baseball player has roughed up a TV cameraman. What's up with these clowns? You don't go beating people up for doing their jobs, even if you're "frustrated" or "dealing with some anger-management issues" -- owner Tom Hicks' words -- or whatever other excuse your enablers come up with to make it seem like it's sort of OK or at least understandable for you to treat people like they're nothing.

Rogers was sent home an hour after the incident. Hart said the Rangers would "probably not" suspend Rogers. That doesn't mean Major League Baseball won't, though.

Rodriguez, who left the stadium on a stretcher complaining of neck, back and leg pain, filed a police complaint. I hope they throw the book at Rogers. Or the chair, a popular thing to throw where the Rangers are concerned. Or how about throwing a TV camera at him.

Hart said Rogers told him that he was frustrated over people calling his integrity and toughness into question because of the missed start Tuesday.

Kenny Rogers, I think you're a jackass who has no integrity and isn't tough. Maybe that's not a fair thing to say, but hey, I'm frustrated. It's been a tough week for my line of work.

Warriors doesn't have to mean Indians [PERMALINK]

Marquette University has ended a year-long controversy over its nickname. The school changed from Warriors to Golden Eagles in 1994, but a year ago two trustees offered to donate a million bucks each if Marquette became the Warriors again.

This led to the Board of Trustees changing the name to ... the Gold.

That unilateral decision lasted about 17 minutes in the face of the kind of outrage you just don't see on less important issues like rampant corruption. So the pooh-bahs decided to put the whole thing to a vote, though Warriors would not be considered.

This week they announced that when Marquette officially joins the Big East Conference Friday, it will be known as ... the Golden Eagles.

"It was kind of a big deal about nothing," a graduate student accosted on campus told the Chicago Tribune. Several others used the word "silly."

Golden Eagles beat out Hilltoppers, a nickname the school used before adopting Warriors in 1954, in a vote among 105,500 students, alums, faculty, staff and donors. The margin was 54-46. Participation was a little under 22 percent. That means fewer than a depressing one in eight people eligible to vote wanted Golden Eagles. Rah!

Twelve percent getting their way is how we elect presidents and senators. School nicknames deserve more careful and enthusiastic consideration.

This all started because 11 years ago Marquette succumbed to the pressure of people like me and abandoned its Indian imagery and Warriors nickname. Given a real choice, the Marquette community would return to Warriors in a heartbeat.

The choice the Marquette folks were given, Golden Eagles vs. Hilltoppers, was sort of like being asked to vote on your favorite vacation spot, with the candidates being Bakersfield, Calif., and Trenton, N.J.

I'd vote for Bakersfield, by the way. I love Bakersfield. And while Golden Eagles is generic and offensively inoffensive, I don't mean to put down Hilltoppers, a fine nickname that's used by Western Kentucky University, though in its case the name has led to the creation of a mascot that looks like a furry red penis.

I digress.

I'm something of an absolutist when it comes to Native American nicknames and imagery. I think it should all go, and I don't want to hear how your school's nickname and prancing mascot and Indian-head logo are really meant as signs of respect, or how some local tribe says it's cool, go ahead.

These things are offensive enough to enough people that they should be abandoned. I'm waiting for the NCAA to do the right thing in August, when its decision is due on whether to ban all Native American nicknames. I know it's silly to wait for the NCAA to do the right thing but there's a first time for everything.

So here's what nickname I think the Marquette Golden Gold Hilltopper Eagles should use:


Really. Warriors. It's a perfectly good word that by itself doesn't have anything to do with Native Americans. "A person taking part or experienced in conflict, especially war; soldier," says the official Salon dictionary, Webster's New World College Fourth. No mention of Indians.

Of course every sports team and school nicknamed Warriors was done so with Indians in mind, but that's just a product of earlier times. Braves, Indians, Redskins, tribe names, there's no getting around what these things mean, but Warriors? Get rid of the imagery and you're fine. One who goes to war.

That was done years ago by the Golden State Warriors, the offensive part of whose name is "Golden State." Operating in the p.c. capital of the English-speaking world, they hear nary a peep about their name.

Marquette's president, Rev. Robert Wild, S.J., says the vote puts the matter to rest, it's time for the school to move on, and people who are unenthusiastic about "Golden Eagles" will come around after some time has passed and some games have been won.

Maybe so, but even though I have no stake in Marquette, I'll offer a million bucks to the university if it changes back to Warriors.

Please send SASE for restrictions on this offer.

Previous column: Don't take Bogut first!

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