When I first saw the title of the Washington Post commentary — “The Buccaneers embody Tampa’s love of pirates. Is that a problem?” — I thought it might be a joke. My bad. The Washington Post doesn’t joke.
Neither apparently does the author, Jamie L.H. Goodall, who is a staff historian with the Center of Military History in Washington D.C. Fittingly, her essay opens with a history lesson of sorts:
When the National Football League expanded to 28 teams in 1973, the league awarded Tampa an expansion team, prompting a name-the-team contest in 1975. “Buccaneers” won, a reference to the pirates who frequented the coasts of Florida in the 17th and 18th centuries. But team executives wanted the logo to be a “classy” pirate a cross between Robin Hood, Errol Flynn, the musketeer D’Artagnan and pirate Jean Lafitte. It was a logo the team maintained until 1997 when they switched to a more aggressive, menacing Jolly Roger.
You can probably guess where this is all headed. Beginning in the following paragraph, the article devolves into a fire and brimstone sermon on the danger of “romanticizing ruthless cutthroats who created a crisis in world trade when they captured and plundered thousands of ships on Atlantic trade routes between the Americas, Africa and Great Britain.”
But it was the specific example of the “terrible things” these “murderous thieves” did — “things like locking women and children in a burning church” — that caught my eye. I was reminded of an incident that took place last June in the early days of the protests over the death of George Floyd. According to Richmond, Va. Police Chief Will Smith, “rioters set fire to an occupied multi-family residence with a child inside, then repeatedly blocked firefighters’ access to the scene.” As the chief reported on the incident, he was overcome with emotion. Watch:
Chief William C. Smith comments on a challenging situation during last night’s protests in #RVA. You can watch the rest of this @CityRichmondVA press conference here: https://t.co/jvzqcaRA3i pic.twitter.com/LCHrIIAeM2
— Richmond Police (@RichmondPolice) May 31, 2020
But as Richmond NBC affiliate WWBT clarified, “later in the week, Richmond fire officials said the family was already outside of the home when they arrived. They did say they were delayed in their response due to the protests, but not to the extent the chief alluded to in the press conference.”
While it was reassuring to learn there were no deaths, that fact in no way excuses the murderous actions of the rioters who perpetrated the crime. They had no way of knowing whether the occupants of the building has escaped to safety and seemed unconcerned in any case.
Yet, these protesters were hailed back then and continue to be extolled by the Left as peaceful dissenters. I fail to see how that differs even in the slightest from the people of Tampa who, according to Goodall, misguidedly view the buccaneers as “a symbol of freedom and adventure, erasing their wicked deeds from historical memory.”
If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to change the team name and logo, which seems like the logical next step, I can offer a few suggestions. (RELATED: Woke protesters headed to Super Bowl to demonstrate against KC Chiefs’ name)