But wait, there’s more:
When the National Football League expanded to 28 teams in 1973, the league awarded Tampa an expansion team, prompting a name-the-team contest in 1975. “Buccaneers” won, a reference to the pirates who frequented the coasts of Florida in the 17th and 18th centuries. But team executives wanted the logo to be a “classy” pirate — a cross between Robin Hood, Errol Flynn, the musketeer D’Artagnan and pirate Jean Lafitte. It was a logo the team maintained until 1997 when they switched to a more aggressive, menacing Jolly Roger.
The last time the Jolly Roger was aggressive and menacing rather than a mildly amusing children’s joke, the year started with “18”.
Yet, while this celebration of piracy seems like innocent fun and pride in a local culture, there is danger in romanticizing ruthless cutthroats who created a crisis in world trade when they captured and plundered thousands of ships on Atlantic trade routes between the Americas, Africa and Great Britain.
Stop right there. Just stop.
Why? Because it takes these murderous thieves who did terrible things — like locking women and children in a burning church — and makes them a symbol of freedom and adventure, erasing their wicked deeds from historical memory. These were men (and women) who willingly participated in murder, torture and the brutal enslavement of Africans and Indigenous peoples.
Ok, there we go. You’re a racist. We’re all racist.
Is there a Microsoft Word macro thingy to run to automatically churn this formulaic bollocks out?
Start Menu/Setttings/System Updates/Install Microsoft Word Wokerator Plug-in.
There then follows a potted summary of some selected elements of nautical history, utterly irrelevant to a game of American Football.
Perhaps time has dulled us to the atrocities committed by these 17th and 18th century outlaws. Or perhaps it’s the fact that if pirates of the Golden Age were bloodthirsty, so too were the nations who opposed them. They willingly and purposefully massacred millions of African and Indigenous peoples in the name of colonization. Pirates, then, are seen as romantic heroes — the underdogs fighting the establishment — whom historian Marcus Rediker refers to as proto-democratic, egalitarian and multicultural.
Should we celebrate their complicated legacy? It’s a question Tampa Bay has to contend with as we collectively contemplate other major sports mascots with dubious legacies, like their Super Bowl rivals in Kansas City.
Don’t invite Jamie H. Goodall to a Superbowl Party and for fucksake don’t ask for her opinion about Halloween.