The College of William and Mary has had some trouble securing a college
mascot. Because the sports teams calls themselves the Tribe, the mascots
have long been Native American-themed. But, owing to NCAA rulings and
public pressure to downplay the racial overtones, William and Mary
dropped the "Indian," a previous mascot. The replacement, Ebirt (that's Tribe spelled
backwards) was an amorphous and unpopular frog-like creature that
eventually disappeared. Now, after several years of going without one, the
nation's second-oldest college has unveiled its new mascot: The Griffin.
With no apparent ties to William and Mary history and a mock-up that
looks remarkably pantsless, the Griffin could face some hardships of its
own. Here's the awkward-looking unveiling ceremony and what critics are
saying (update below: Jon Stewart piles on):
Man-Bird To Lead William and Mary Into Battle' Deadspin's Dashiell
Bennett calls it "Part bird, part lion, all WTF?" Bennet has many
questions. "Is he naked? Are those supposed to be ears? ... Why is he so
angry? And why is he looking into my soul?"
- The Harry
Potter-Friendly History W&M alum blogger Rob muses, "Yes, it has an eagle's head
and a lion's body, symbolizing the College's historical debt to both
the United States and Great Britain. And sure, it'll play well with the
Harry Potter demo. But how do we explain this to our children? How do I
look into my daughter's perplexed eyes and answer her question: 'Why
does it have a naked man's legs and a tail?' Why, indeed, sweetheart?"
They Picked It The Washington Post's Jenna Johnson reports,
"Last year [College President] Reveley appointed a mascot committee made
up of alumni, students, faculty and staff to find a mascot that could
be a unifying, fun figure on campus, but still looked good on T-shirts
and costumes. Five finalists were announced in December: the griffin,
the king and queen, the phoenix, a pug and a wren. Then the public
had a chance to voice their opinions. More than 11,000 people completed a
mascot survey and the committee reviewed more than 22,000 mascot
comments. And a mascot Web site received more than 47,500 visitors."
At Least We Finally Decided Campus newspaper The Flat Hat sighs, "The mascot search is finally over,
and we can probably all agree: thank god it’s not the Pug. ... We have
to say: we like it — although we’re mostly just happy that the long and
arduous search is finally over." They predict, "after the unavoidable
knee-jerk reactionism has died down, the Griffin will prove a
decent-enough choice for the College"