I hate these types of posts. The ones where you have to point out that your favorite team in the whole wide world did or said something that you find very appalling or distasteful.
Just before the beginning of this season, the New York Mets decided to add a Native American Heritage Night to their promotional schedule for the new season. The Mets have always been very proactive in embracing the diversity of our city and have done a great job ushering in various Heritage Nights at Citi Field which have become popular with the fans and the multicultural people in our community.
To help launch this new addition to their promo schedule, they decided to approach a popular local non-profit organization called the American Indian Community House (A.I.H.C.). They were only too happy and proud to help the Mets organize and promote Native American Heritage Night which would be held on July 25th at Citi Field when the Mets hosted the Atlanta Braves. There would be traditional dancing, Native American music, and people dressed in their traditional Native American garb. The Mets and the A.I.H.C. even had custom designed t-shirts that featured the Mets logo adorned with feathers to help promote the event. It promised to be a great time for all and the best part was that all the proceeds were for charity.
Then, as the date drew nearer things began to slowly deteriorate. Now, with just two weeks to go, the entire event has been cancelled. The reasons that led to this may disturb you.
Scott Cacciola of the New York Times blows the lid off the sequence of events that led to the event being nixed.
There was a glitch, as far as the Mets were concerned: they were scheduled to host the Atlanta Braves that day. So in the past week, concerned that such activities might be interpreted by the Braves organization as a form of protest over its nickname, the Mets drastically reduced the day’s activities: no singing, no dancing. And now there won’t be any American Indians, either.
Four months into their agreement and only now did the Mets become so sensitive about how their rivals would perceive a day meant only to honor one of the many cultures that make up our great melting pot?
On Monday, the A.I.C.H. pulled out of the event, citing frustration with the Mets for thwarting months of planning. The team has removed the event from its online schedule of activities. I checked the promotional schedule on Mets.com and sure enough “Native American Heritage Night” is gone and has been replaced by “David Wright Figurine Night.”
“This whole thing wasn’t even our idea”, said a spokesman for the A.I.C.H.. “But it just feels like we’re being marginalized again within our own community.”
The Mets sent an email to the A.I.H.C. that read:
It was brought to my attention that we need to be sensitive to the Braves being a partner MLB team and can’t put them in a situation for a potentially negative environment to be brought upon them. I know this is not the plan, but sometimes people come to events under different agendas than expected. I’m not referring to [A.I.C.H.] or any of the organizations involved, but more about unknown groups that may want to change the perception of the event.
The unknown groups. Those damned unknown groups are always messing around with our Heritage Nights, right? We can’t have that happening again, right? What a lame excuse…
“We’re not trying to be overly sensitive,” the A.I.H.C. told the Times. “But it seems like we fall into this type of thing a lot. We’re led to get enthusiastic about something, and then it’s like, ‘Oh, never mind.’ It’s disappointing, but it sort of amplifies a pattern of what we’ve been dealing with for hundreds of years.”
“It wasn’t like we were planning to protest anything. We just thought it would be great to show natives in a positive light — that we’re human beings, and we’re not from 300 years ago. It was a win-win situation. We’d be supporting the Mets, the Braves and Major League Baseball.”
Unreal…. As long as the Atlanta Braves feelings aren’t hurt though, right?