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Birmingham Should Be Brave on Nickname

April 15, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER

The new nickname for Birmingham High's athletic teams will be . . . Blue Devils or Buccaneers.

Those are the two favorites as Birmingham's mascot selection committee prepares to recommend a replacement for Braves. A committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, then it will be up to the students to make a final selection.

Last week, a federal judge upheld a Los Angeles Unified School District policy that banned schools from using nicknames and mascots based on Native Americans.

Blue Devils was the preliminary choice of Birmingham students in a recent vote and it gets my endorsement, too. But already, some people are raising religious concerns about including the devil in a nickname.

Blue Devils hasn't done badly for Duke University, which has one of the best academic and athletic schools in the nation. And DePaul, a Catholic university, is the Blue Demons.

But Principal Gerald Kleinman is wary of more controversy surrounding nicknames. "We don't want to be criticized," he said. "We want to be a great school with a great mascot."

Let's hope the politically correct crowd doesn't veto Blue Devils. Buccaneers, Bears, Breakers and Golden Eagles are also under consideration.

But Birmingham Blue Devils sounds great to me.

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