Hello, welcome to our focus group. We’re so glad you could make it. Let’s get started.

Should the Washington Redskins change their name because it’s been deemed offensive by a few Native Americans and apparently some righteous sportswriters, most recently Christine Brennan of USA Today and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King? And should major college football players be paid?

These are the two important topics we find ourselves deliberating on this fine September morn. In order to better gauge your perspective on both these topics, let’s try a word association test. I’ll present a word and you say the first thing that comes to mind.

Hatchet.

“Tomahawk chop.”

Football.

“Florida State.”

Spear

“Atlanta Braves.”

Hmmm, I think we’re getting somewhere here. I think you’re not offended by an NFL football team’s use of Redskins at all. You don’t consider it racist. Now, why do you suppose that is?

“Because when I use it or hear it I selfishly and appropriately think of the sports team and not Native Americans. Besides, if a small tribal group is offended and has convinced a few sports writers not to refer to the team as the Redskins, then shouldn’t the Yankees be under the same scrutiny? As a Yank, I might be offended by its derogatory overtones. Would the Cleveland Indians fall into that same category of mildly offensive to some when Native Americans is the politically correct term?  

“As a half Irishman — the half where my liver resides — I might also take offense to the use of the term paddy wagon, but I’m not crying foul over it. Let’s move on to the next topic. Go.”

College.

“Tuition.”

Athlete.

 “Scholarship.”

Money.

“Everywhere.”

I’m not exactly tuning in on a position you might have on this topic. Because of the amount of revenue college sports draws, particularly through football and basketball, should the NCAA allow college athletes to be paid?

“No. Well, yes. But they already do. They’re called scholarships and from what I understand they are quite lucrative. Not only is tuition taken care of, but these student athletes have access to state-of-the-art training equipment, among other amenities. There are also luxurious lounges for these kids to enjoy, complete with billiards tables, enormous flatscreen televisions, leather recliners and free popcorn. Did you hear me, free popcorn! 

“All the profit generated from major college sports teams should go into reducing tuition for the kid who is unable to secure a sports or academic scholarship. Paying the athletes, which the NCAA is considering in regards to at least a $2,000 stipend, would only lead to more scandals like the one recently revealed at Oklahoma State. Someone is always going to warrant a little extra cash here or there. You start down that road and more trouble will soon follow. 

“Now, where do I pick up my pay for this focus group? I wanna catch the Central Michigan Chippewas football game.”

Contact: Bspencer@oakpark.com

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...

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