The furor over U of I’s Chief Illiniwek is finally, thankfully over. Last week they announced that Illiniwek will no longer be the mascot for the Illini. Good.
Of all the “Keep Illiniwek” arguments one stands out as the most stupid. I’ve heard several “social” commentators claim that he is a symbol of respect. How do we know this? Because when he comes out on the floor the crowd goes nuts and cheers for him. Oh. My. Goodness. You know who else fans cheer? That lame “Blues Brothers” knock-off seen here in Chicago. They cheer the cheerleaders shooting T-shirts into the crowd. They cheer “Benny the Bull”.
Face it, fans will cheer anyone. Wife beaters. Drunk Drivers. Roiders. Dopers. Felons. Chief Illiniwek being cheered has nothing to do with reverence and respect. And if it truly was offending a large group of people, then I say good riddance Chief. It’s only a name for a team. I’d much prefer they get back to winning the Big 10, no matter what their “name” is. And this way they also truly give respect to the people who are offended by him.