February 15, 2006
Offensive Alamo Imagery in Sports
Posted by Christine Hurt

Alamo For those readers not keeping up with Houston sports, Houston recently brought a major league soccer franchise to its city.  The team was named the Houston 1836.  For those of you not in 7th grade Texas History class right now, the year 1836 was the year of the battle of the Alamo, the battle of San Jacinto, and the declaration of Texas independence from Mexico.  The first time I heard the name, I thought it was a little obscure and not very catchy, but that's where my thoughts ended.  Apparently, the Mexican-American community in Texas had thoughts that extended further and voiced their opposition to a name that was possibly divisive.  (Houston Chronicle article here.)

Now, I've been really sympathetic with movements by my home school and others to move away from sports imagery that may be offensive to other groups, but I am having a hard time getting on this bandwagon.  I understand that Mexico is our neighbor and we like them and especially in South Texans we're all Texicans, but I bet if we took a poll, most if not all Texans would vote for Texas to remain not part of Mexico.  I'm not sure why celebrating independence has to hurt Mexico's feelings.  Does the Fourth of July hurt the Brits' feelings?  Does Tony Blair secretly ask George Bush to do something about the "New England Patriot" problem?  What about the D.A.R.?  Isn't that sort in your face to the UK?  Is Thanksgiving really just thanking God we're not Dutch anymore?  As you can see, I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon that celebrating revolutions is infammatory to ancestral countries with whom we've reconciled.  Perhaps the U.S. Congress is offended because Houstonians are saying "Remember the good old days when we were our own country?"  However, without consulting me, the Houston 1836 may soon become something else, such as "Lone Star, "Apollo," or "Mustangs."

Just to tie this to corporate law:  the owner of the team is Philip Anschutz.  Why does that name ring a bell?  Because he was a director of Qwest and was one of the first people indicted by Eliott Spitzer for accepting pre-IPO shares by investment banks in return for steering investment banking business to that bank.  Anschutz settled and has avoided prosecution under other Qwest-related investigations.

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