Plain Dealer's Ted Diadiun: Wahoo Protesters Should "Leave the Rest of us Alone"


Plain Dealer Reader Representative turned right wing editorial writer Ted Diadiun has penned a defiant column, standing up for Chief Wahoo in the face of local protests, liberal zealots and his own employer's published opposition.

"I decided that it was about time somebody around here stood up for the little fellow," Diadiun wrote of the red faced caricature.

That's entirely his right to do. It is an editorial after all. And he does so in full knowledge of the army of locals who agree with him — "Let the Wahoo opponents be offended on their own time and leave the rest of us alone," his headline whines — but Diadiun must fathom the direction of the tide.

Even owner Paul Dolan has a hard time making massive profits on Wahoo merchandise these days without pangs of guilt. He acknowledged to Terry Pluto that the logo was an important part of the team's legacy, but that it was indeed offensive to some. He had empathy for those groups, Dolan said, and the team would continue to "do what they think is appropriate,"

That seems to signify Chief Wahoo playing second banana to the Block C on the field, but still getting ample run in the Team Shop. Wahoo ball caps ranked #1 and #3 in total sales last season.

But Diadiun espies a darker thread in the Chief Wahoo opposition, a species of radical thought that tramples upon his (and our) God-given right to be as self-righteously offensive as we wish, and without the burden of being embarrassed by our actions, thank you very much. He cites groups across the country, including the locally based United Church of Christ, who have opposed Native American mascots in recent years.

"You might argue that all those groups constitute a wave of popular sentiment," Diadiun writes, "but consider the common thread that runs through all those campaigns: Liberal zealots who are pleased to decide what's good for the rest of us ... who want to tell us all what we are allowed to call our sports teams and what we are allowed to use to represent them." (Italics added). 

He concludes with the admission that he doesn't have the first idea whether or not the protesters on opening day devote themselves to real Native American issues: things like health and finance and crime. But that's "grubby work," he writes, the stuff that makes an impact beyond the cheap publicity of the six o'clock news.

It certainly doesn't occur to Diadiun that for many of the protesters — certainly many of the Native Americans among them, who've devoted much of their lives to the causes Diadiun has determined are worthwhile — Chief Wahoo's continued existence is a real issue.

And the "liberal zealots" whom Diadiun accuses of assorted political-correctness violations may in many cases be referred to by another name: "decent human beings." 

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