by Max Brantley
That logo above? Toss it.
The hordes who follow my column know how happy I was to read today that the University of Arkansas Razorbacks' new athletic director Jeff Long has decided that all university athletes are now Razorbacks -- not Razorbacks and Lady 'Backs.
I wrote a column in June about the dying practice of demeaning female athletes with the "Lady" label. I noted the national trend and commented, based on some whispers I'd heard at the time:
Since then, with the retirement of long-time athletic director Frank Broyles (a frequent critic of the federal law that required equal treatment of male and female athletics), the UA has merged the men's and women's athletic departments. So far, Razorback women are still Lady ‘Backs, but new athletic director Jeff Long has had bigger fish to fry. Perhaps he'll eventually retire the second-class identification tool.
A month later and it's done. One small additional hat tip. The D-G's account mentioned practices of other Arkansas colleges. It failed to credit UCA for deciding names on a team-by-team basis. Some have already dropped the ultra-demeaning Sugar Bears name. More are expected to follow. As I mentioned in the column, it seems likely that Lady Red Wolves are not in the cards for the newly renamed Arkansas State teams, either.
Wally Hall is grumbling about it. But the notion that this change creates any problems for newspapers is silly. Some sports are only played by one gender or another. In the others, you need only once insert in a handy place that it is men's or women's basketball (baseball, track, etc.) and you're done. That's how they do it in the Olympics. We don't have U.S. athletes and Lady U.S. athletes. We have U.S. athletes. Works fine.
We're all Razorbacks today. Three cheers.