PETA Wants Sports Teams Name Change

Green Bay "Packers": Whatís in a name? Plenty, when it glorifies butchering animals. Thatís why PETA is urging the Green Bay Packers to retire their old name and sign on a replacement more in keeping with the times. PETAís first-round draft choice: the "Six-Packers," a tribute to Wisconsinís renowned brewing industry and one that goes down well with fans. Sundayís game marks the first time that Green Bay has traveled to Chicago since PETA began its Six-Packers Campaign last season. The Packersí controversial name gives animal-loving Bears fans yet another reason to root for the home team.

PETA has even come up with its own cheerleaders to greet fans at Lambeau Field with "" buttons and petitions supporting the name change. PETAís cheerleaders are also planning to distribute free beer to the notoriously thirsty Packer fans later this season.

Packers CEO Bob Harlan has told PETA that the name wonít change because of "tradition." But PETA asserts that some traditions need to change, pointing out that when the Packers were named, back in 1919, women were denied the right to vote and Jim Crowe ruled the South.

"ĎTraditioní has never been a valid excuse for abuse," says PETA spokesperson and native Wisconsinite Sean Gifford. "Teams change their names for monetary reasons, when they are sold or move to another city. Why not change a name for ethical reasons? The Washington Wizards (formerly the Bullets) slam-dunked a bad name into the trash binónow itís Green Bayís turn."

Carolina and Jacksonville "Gamecocks": People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is asking the Carolina and Jacksonville Gamecocks to trade their names for ones that donít glorify violence, cruelty, and illegal activity, as cockfighting does. The Gamecocks are named after birds used in cockfighting, which is illegal in all but three states and is a felony in South Carolina.

"Like spousal abuse, bank robbery, and driving while intoxicated, cockfighting is illegal in South Carolina and Alabama," PETAís Kristie Phelps points out. "Itís a safe bet that officials at the University of South Carolina and Jacksonville State University would never dream of calling their athletic teams the Dogfighters, the Wifebeaters, the Looters, or the Road-Ragers!" Letters from Ms. Phelps were faxed today to Dr. John M. Palms, President of the University of South Carolina, and Dr. William A. Meehan, President of Jacksonville State University.

"After deciding that they didnít want to be associated with lethal projectiles, the Washington Bullets changed the teamís name to the Washington Wizards," explains Phelps. "By calling their teams the Gamecocks, JSU and USC send a message to sports fans that cruel, illegal cockfighting is something to cheer about." Phelps urges the university presidents to "[s]how the nation that JSU and USC athletes are first-string champions of compassion. The ball is in your court."