Hookstead’s Friday Mailbag: Are College Football Mascots Offensive?

David Hookstead | Contributor

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for Hookstead’s Friday Mailbag.

Lets jump right into the questions.

Last week Illinois officially retired the song “War Chant” (YouTube it and you’ll recognize it) to continue distancing itself from its Chief Illiniwek mascot it retired in 2007 once the Peoria Tribe announced it no longer supported the mascot.  This move reignited the debate on Illinois message boards over whether this was going too far to be politically correct or if this was a necessary move due to the tribe’s outspoken disapproval of it.  It’s worth noting that the nickname “Fighting Illini” was originally created because of how many Illinois students dropped out to fight in WW1, the Native American ties did not come until later.  What’s your take on this?  Should schools need permission from the local tribe they’re supposedly honoring (like Florida State receives from the Seminole Tribe)?  Or should schools do what’s going to get the most support from the big donors who generously fund hundreds of students’ education and without their support the university would crumble?

First off, great to see another Big Ten fan jumping in with a question. I’m sorry you’re an Illinois fan. That’s been tough the past few years.

This is a problem sweeping across America, and it’s not incredibly new. We’ve seen a similar debate with the Washington Redskins many times before. It’s this simple in my mind: do what it takes to thrive. Play to the money.

It’s important to recognize the loudest voices in debates of this nature are also often in the smallest groups. Most people honestly don’t care, which means you play to the money because it keeps the program alive. Of course, don’t sell out the school’s legacy and tradition for a little bit of money. However, if the bottom falls out and all the money disappears, what else can be done? College sports are dominated by the money, and that’s not changing anytime soon.

Seems like your work converses with your haters, a style that reminds me of early blogging. I’m curious – who are your blogging inspirations?

I’m not sure I have too many inspirations to be honest with you. I pretty much just say what I think, and let people tear it to shreds or enjoy it however they like. My inspiration is really the fact I feel everything is too sanitized. I read lots of different publications, and I always find myself thinking about how nobody talks the way these columns are written. I hate that fact. I simply want to shoot straight, which is something I feel is becoming a rarity.

One of the things I always pride myself on is the fact I’m authentic. I drink Mountain Dew in the morning, I love football, I love drinking beer, I love drinking beer while watching football, I love Midwestern women, I love the gun range and I just love being a regular dude. There are plenty of witnesses to this, and you can ask anybody in the office, I crack a Mountain Dew within one minute of entering the office every morning. People might hate what I represent, say or write, but it’s as real as it gets. I guess authenticity is my main inspiration.

How did you convince your editors to give you space on the site for your prettiest blogs about your haters?

I’m a showman on the level of Kenny Powers. I enjoy the entertainment value and making people laugh. I don’t care if they’re laughing with me, at my crazy stories or at anything else. The important thing is to be laughing, and if the audience loves what I’m doing, my bosses are game.

Again, we’re in a world where everything is becoming sanitized. I’m here to get things dirty and hold people accountable. It’s been so much fun. I’ve been with the company for two years now, and the fans and audience for the content keep growing. The important thing to do is generate content that funny, original and interesting to the audience. Feuding checks all three boxes.

Also, if somebody wants to take a shot at me, I suggest they bring the biggest army the world’s ever seen. I don’t roll over for anybody. You can feel about that however you’d like, but I attach my name to everything I write. If somebody doesn’t like it they can pop off or not, but internet-style retaliation is always an option in my wheelhouse.

What is the ceiling for the Wisconsin Badgers football team this season?

Again, always great to talk some college football, especially Big Ten football.

The Wisconsin Badgers football team is loaded with talent, they have an easy schedule, a talented quarterback and a very solid coach. On paper the Badgers are a 10 win team in a worst case scenario. Of course, we all know the worst case scenario on the field is always worse than what we figure on paper. If the wheels fall off of the Badgers team, I still don’t see them winning less than eight games. That’s the floor in my mind.

So, for the ceiling, the Badgers toughest game is at home against Michigan. It might be the only game all year Wisconsin isn’t favored going into. It’s a home game, and Camp Randall is hell on Earth for opposing teams. The Badgers could be 12-0, Big Ten West champs and in the title game without any surprise at the end of the season. Then it all comes down to whether or not if Wisconsin can beat the Big Ten East winner, which will almost certainly be Ohio State or Penn State. Both teams could be very rundown by the end of the season, while the Badgers should be very fresh relative to the Big Ten East champion.

The ceiling is a spot in the college football playoff. After they get in anything is possible. Do the Wisconsin Badgers have national championship talent? Maybe, but certainly not on the same level as Alabama, FSU or Ohio State. They do have the easiest schedule, and that matters a lot. If all the dominoes fall correctly they’re a national title team.

My girlfriend has been very weird lately, and is convinced I’m cheating on her. I’m honestly not, have never considered cheating, and wouldn’t cheat. She’s not buying it. She thinks I’m cheating with one of my childhood friends, who I also went to college with. She does nothing but b*tch and complain all the time now. I can’t hang out at my usual gatherings of friends because it’s so awkward to have these two around each other. Now she also wants the password to my cellphone. Not only does she what it, she’s also threatening to not have sex with me until I give it to her. I’m debating whether or not to tell her she’s an idiot and get lost or keep putting up with her garbage.

You’ve got a massive headache and problem on your hands. As the saying goes, the worst thing to be when the torturer shows up is innocent because you’ve got nothing to confess to. I’d suggest you get rid of her and move on. It’s like when a football team cuts a once successful player because he’s now aged and has a bad attitude. Make it quick and clean, but most importantly, get it over with. My main reason for suggesting this is because if she thinks you’re cheating now, she won’t magically stop down the road. She has major trusts issues. Drop her like a hot potato and move on.

Remember for next week, you can send me any of your questions at [email protected]

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David Hookstead

Contributor

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