Blogger Jim Henley of Unqualified Offerings looks into the issue of American football teams whose names have sparked controversy, such as teams calling themselves the Redskins, and so on. Now I don’t want to enter the swamps of that particular controversy, which Jim negotiates with customary dexterity. No what struck me is this – why don’t European sports teams have such names at all?
For example, consider the Premiership football (soccer to you barbarians in the colonies) league. The teams are called Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Tottenham Hotspur, etc. Not many references to ethnic groups there (though of course football does have its ethnic issues, as any Glasgow Rangers or Celtic fan would point out). The nomaclature of football is pretty tame, even while the makeup of the teams and the fans is not.
Look elsewhere. English cricket teams are named after counties of England. All very staid. Of course when you go outside the field of professional sports, it can get a bit more interesting. I occasionally play cricket for a side called The Pretenders. (My favourite cricket team was called The Corridor of Uncertainty!). But at the professional level at least, British teams sound about as exciting as a German movie without the subtitles.
Why are our teams sporting such dull names compared to our American cousins? I need enlightenment on this subject.