Policy of truth

17Sep21

“We’re only getting rid of the Warrior logo. The Warrior name can stay.”

How many times did we hear those soothing words of assurance over the last year?

I didn’t believe it the first time I heard it and I don’t believe it now.

Even before they cancelled the logo, I said, “They’ll be back for the name. Mark my words.” Just so you know, I’m batting 1.000 when it comes to predictions regarding this whole process.

And now, having seen a copy of the new School Committee policy on “Logos, Mascots & Team Names,” I’m more convinced than ever that the “Warrior” name will soon be following the logo to the Happy Hunting Ground.

Sorry to break the news, but the name “Warrior” is a direct violation of the new policy on Logos, Mascots & Team Names.

The policy was “laid on the table for two weeks consideration” on Tuesday and will be voted at the School Committee’s Sept. 28 meeting.

Like anything’s going to change in two weeks.

My first tipoff that the Wakefield Warriors are now an endangered species was the title of the policy. If it was “only” about the logo, why do we need a new policy on “Logos, Mascots & Team Names?”

Answer: Because it was never just about the logo. And Wakefield has never had a “mascot,” so I’m guessing that was thrown in to pad the word count.

Then we get to the second paragraph of the proposed policy, which reads: “Mascots, logos, team names, and/or nicknames will not be derogatory or offensive to persons of any race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or age, or persons with a disability. Neither should the mascot, logo, team name, and/or nickname depict violence or abuse.”

My 2004 edition of the Meriam-Webster Dictionary defines a “warrior” as “a man experienced or engaged in warfare.” The very name “Warrior” derives from “war,” which I’m pretty sure involves violence.

Someone explain to me how the name “Warrior” does not “depict violence.”

Meanwhile, I’m not the only one who saw the writing on the wall. School Committee member Ami Wall wanted to revise the School Committee’s “Resolution for the Honoring of Native American Culture in the Wakefield Public Schools,” which was passed last spring in conjunction with eliminating the Warrior logo.

Wall wanted to remove from the Resolution language prohibiting “imagery that includes references to Native Americans.” She was hoping that a compromise Indian logo and name might be found that’s acceptable to all Native Americans. (Whether it’s acceptable to Wakefield natives isn’t even a consideration anymore.)

One such idea that has been floated is a Native American illustration of an eagle. Such an image would also pay homage to the late Richard Bayrd, a local Native American whose Indian name was “Eagle Feather.”

But under the Resolution, such a compromise would not be possible because a logo cannot have any Native American connection.

And we learned on Tuesday that the Resolution is not only a policy, it is also a Sacred Text that may never be altered or revised in any way.

Meanwhile, local social media pundits have been tossing around other possible names to replace the soon to be eliminated “Wakefield Warriors.”

One frequently mentioned idea is the “Wakefield Wickers,” after the wicker furniture industry founded here by the town’s namesake, Cyrus Wakefield. The only question is whether the new team logo would be a table or a chair.

But what happens when a member of the Youth Council or the Human Rights Commission realizes that Cyrus Wakefield was a capitalist who exploited immigrant labor in his Water Street sweat shops? The “Wickers” would be cancelled faster than an unvaccinated federal worker.

Another idea that’s been floated is, “The Lakers.”

While “Lakers” is a unique and original name for a sports team, it must be noted that one of our two lakes is named after a Native American. That could be “problematic.”

And don’t even think about the “Wakefield Hikers,” named after the iconic Hiker statue on the Rockery. That guy carries a rifle and is probably high on the hit list to be cancelled anyway.

Wakefield voters didn’t want the logo cancelled, and they certainly don’t want the Warrior name to go. Not that it matters what Wakefield people think.

Whatever neutered name and logo they decide to inflict upon us, I hope they do it quickly and get it over with.

Let’s just call ourselves the “Wakefield Woke” and be done with it.

[This column originally appeared in the September 16, 2021 Wakefield Daily Item.]



18 Responses to “Policy of truth”

  1. 1 Anthony Antetomaso

    “…it is also a Sacred Text that may never be altered or revised in any way…” Oh really? We’ll see about that….

  2. 2 Anthony Antetomaso

    Great reporting Mark. Thank you!

  3. 3 Ed

    Its actually far worse than this.

    I could live with woke if people actually walked the walk, but they dont. We are all reduced to only 90 minutes of sleep a night – between 3.30AM & 5 AM – SO THAT CAPITOLISTS IN A STRIP MALL ON BROADWAY CAN MAKE MORE MONEY……

    Those train horns are 110 dB — 150 TIMER louder then a smoke detector!

    They want a war – lets give them one – NO NEW HIGH SCHOOL! Vote NO on the override – theyll be back but this will get their attention.

    And as to the Chamber of Commerce, its not Amazon that is responsible for the 3AM train horns…..

  4. 4 John Breithaupt

    How about the ‘’Wakefield Nor’easters’’?

    • 5 Mark Sardella

      How about the “Wakefield Warriors?”

      • 6 Ed

        Mark, the real issue is why the logo was chosen back in 1947. Elementary schools went through 8th grade, so you had kids from what was essentially 7 different towns. These were largely racially & religiously exclusive neighborhoods.

        The Indian logo unified the school.

  5. 7 WaffleCat

    How about the ‘’Wakefield Worriers’’?

  6. 8 Cheryl Welcher

    I personally think that trying not to offend anyone is impossible. What happened to tradition? The Warriors logo and name were given to the teams by Native Americans. Our town has Native Americans in it. If they, as Native Americans, are not ashamed, upset or offended by the Warriors name and/or logo it’s time for the Committee to stop meddling and start listening to the townspeople.

    • 9 Anthony Antetomaso

      The problem is bigger than our little local gang of ed-hoodlums. This goes at least up to the state house and i’d bet the rent money it goes higher than that. Nationally or even further. Don’t forget the purpose here has nothing to do with anybody’s “feelings”. This is about not fostering any “stupid” ideas about fighting for what’s yours or struggling to succeed.
      Bad values – for non-communists.

      • 10 Ed

        Its more in line with Mao and the cultural revolution.

        Case in point the BLM defacing the monument to the 54th Massachusetts — I dont know which is worse, them not knowing what the 54th was, or not caring.

  7. 11 John Breithaupt

    The ‘’Wakefield Warrior’’ does not represent anything in Wakefield’s history or its people. It has no organic connection with Wakefield.

    So why was something so alien to Wakefield chosen as its logo etc? Probably because 1947 was in the middle of the golden age of the Hollywood western. This was when John Ford was turning out his great western epics. And movies were almost without rivals as forms of popular entertainment back then.

    So, if the warrior is part of Wakefield’s ‘’heritage’’, it’s a pretty strange heritage for a New England town, being the gift not of our past, but of Hollywood.

    • 12 Mark Sardella

      It’s pretty strange to take pure speculation and extrapolate baseless conclusions.

      • 13 John Breithaupt

        This is speculation of course. That’s why I,wrote ‘’probably’’. But it’s plausible, and do we have any record that explains why an image having nothing to,do with Wakefield’s history was chosen?

      • 14 Mark Sardella

        Why does it have to relate to Wakefield’s history? Why can’t it relate to American history? Are there pirates in Pittsburgh?

      • 15 Ed

        Hes not completely wrong, just ignorant.

        The Indian was neither WASP nor Italian, neither Protestant nor Catholic. If Catholic, one identified with one of the 3 regional parishes, if Protestant, with one of several different churches –unless one lived in Greenwood where 70 years earlier theyd formed a united church for Greenwood.

        So one was from Greenwood or Montrose or the West Side, etc.

        And then there were those whose parents had attended the old high school in what is now the town hall and those whose parents had moved in from Boston.

        Hence the Indian.

      • 16 John Breithaupt

        OK, we need a logo that will be acceptable to all the different religious and ethnic groups in town. But an endless number of logos can satisfy that requirement.

        As for Pittsburg’s choice of Pirates as its logo, are you suggesting Mark, that Wakefield turn to Pittsburg for wisdom and practical guidance?

    • 17 Anthony Antetomaso

      No organic connection to Wakefield? Are you serious? Why don’t you do some research on the Bayrd family before you sit down to write. But this isn’t even about any “historic” connections. This is about honoring the heritage of a man and his family who were uniquely respected in this town, something I couldn’t say of anybody else I’ve known in the 70 years I’ve lived here. A set of values any parent would hope to see their children embrace. To never quit; to never stop fighting. Not Party Bosses nor their local apparatchiks. If you really can’t see that then Reading is just down the road. Feel free.

    • 18 Ed

      Do not forget that someone who was 65 years old in 1947 had been born in 1882 — the real Indians, who had grown up as Indians, were the last of a dying breed and everyone knew it.

      The country as a whole was changing, its why there was a halceon nostalga for the pre-depression, pre-WWII, earlier era.


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