EDITORIAL: The horribly sad truth behind college mascot rivalries

Lariat Editorial Board

College sporting events should be held on a level where young students look up to the programs and more importantly to the athletes. These student athletes are not driven by money or fame, but the determination to win. Sadly, not the athletes nor the fans but two mascots on the sidelines interrupted this.

On Sept. 1, during a football game involving the University of Oregon and the University of Houston, a fight broke out on the sidelines. Both mascots started shoving each other during the game but the fight escaladed quickly as Houston’s mascot, Shasta, mocked the Duck by performing his trademark touchdown celebration of pushups in the endzone. The Duck retaliated by taking his opponent to the ground, punching him and finally taking off his mask.

Now to the average college student this fight would be seens as hilarious but what about to a young boy? That same mascot who greeted fans as they came in the stadium or giving kids hugs in the stands was violently showing disrespect to the other team. It doesn’t help that the university uses Disney’s Donald Duck with an Oregon suit on, so what would a child think not only to the University of Oregon but to Disney as well?

Even though the mascot was suspended for one game, the university should be ashamed of itself. Mascots are supposed to be fun-loving characters to make the fans get into the game, not disrupt it by violence.

It should be the student’s responsibility to understand that when they put the mask on they are now a public figure. Leave emotion aside when you put the suit on.

On the other hand, mascots deserve 100 percent credit for how they act. Walking through an amusement park kids faces light up as they get their autographs or pictures with their favorite characters.

A world without mascots would be dull and boring especially in regards to college sports. What would a USC football game without Traveler leading the Trojans out on the field or Smokey leading Tennessee to victory?

Mascots are a part of college athletics but since the Sept. 1 fight they need to be addressed. No matter who is involved- whether it is athletes, fans, coaches or the cheer squad, everyone on game day must act responsibly. We have all had our emotions take the better of us but for everyone’s sake, especially children, keep them in line.