News Flash: North Dakota State Bison Football fans still dislike their century old arch-enemy, the Fighting Sioux from the University of North Dakota! News Flash: Some Bison fans still chant “Sioux Suck” whenever they hear the words “Here we go Bison, Here we go!” no matter who their current opponent is. News Flash: Fans of the University of North Dakota don’t like the words “Sioux Suck!”
So, what does all this mean? Is the rivalry spirit still alive in the cities of Fargo and Grand Forks? Do exuberant students sometimes say things without thinking? Probably both statements are true, but I’m still glad that NDSU publically apologized to UND for the inappropriate chants their players and fans flung into the air regarding UND’s recently retired mascot: It was the right thing to do! Are the fans at the University of North Dakota superior in intellect and sportsmanship to their counterparts at North Dakota State, as I’ve been told on a weekly basis for the past 23 years? Are Bison Football fans “racist blowhards” as UND Women’s Basketball coach Gene Roebuck told boosters at a luncheon last Friday? I have a little more difficulty believing these last two statements.
The worst thing about being a Bison fan in Grand Forks is that everyone I know feels they must convince me that all UND athletic programs and fans are superior to those at NDSU. What they forget is that I lived in Fargo for 8 years, and the fans there feel the same way about their Bison. Neither university has the market cornered on quality teams or good sportsmanship. I’ve seen good and bad examples of sportsmanship from fans in both cities, so I know firsthand that neither university always keeps its fans on the straight and narrow.
“Racist?!” This is the item that has bothered me the most about the “Fighting Sioux” nickname. The fans in Grand Forks can use the mascots of their rivals in humiliating and degrading ways, but if fans in other cities utter a “Sioux Suck” they are labeled racist. Bison are unintelligent animals, as are gophers, badgers, coyotes, jack rabbits, bulldogs, and mavericks. In my opinion, it is racist to lower the Sioux people to a point where they belong in this list of unintelligent animal mascots; even if they say they are doing it with “honor and respect.” Does Coach Roebuck perhaps mean to imply that the standards for racism have been raised, now that the Fighting Sioux nickname has been retired? Well, let me tell you: I was at the UND – NDSU basketball game last night, and the Fighting Sioux nickname is nowhere near being gone! When the fans at UND stop using the name “Sioux,” both at the end of the national anthem and on all their clothing, it will be time to expect their rivals to stop using the name too.
“Blowhards?!” Yes, Coach Roebuck, all sports fans are blowhards by nature, even those who attend events at UND. A blowhard is a braggart, someone who talks themselves up. All sports fans jump up and down screaming that they have the best team and that they are going to win. I’ve always heard, though, that it’s not bragging if you can back up what you say. Well, I hate to tell you this Coach Roebuck, but the North Dakota State Bison won the NCAA Division I FCS Football Championship on the day you believe the words of their players and fans made them blowhards. On that particular day at least, the Bison Football team “walked the talk” and lived up to the boasts made by their fans, making your use of the term “blowhard” quite inaccurate. The word that you should have used for these loud players and fans, Coach Roebuck, should have been a word that has long been associated with Bison Football: That word is “Champions!”