Columnist suggests Texas Rangers change name due to law enforcement agency's racist past

Mark Townsend
Yahoo Sports Contributor

As protests calling for racial equality and standing against police brutality continue throughout the United States following the murder of George Floyd, newspaper columnist Steve Chapman says now is the time for one Major League Baseball team to consider a name change.

In his column published in the Chicago Tribune Thursday, Chapman stated that the Texas Rangers name serves no purpose other than honoring a storied law enforcement agency with a history of brutality and racist behavior.

Chapman cites the new book “Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers,” written by journalist Doug J. Swanson. In it, the Rangers’ long record of “savagery, lawlessness and racism” is detailed.

Here’s an excerpt, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune:

“They burned peasant villages and slaughtered innocents,” Swanson writes. “They committed war crimes. Their murders of Mexicans and Mexican Americans made them as feared on the border as the Ku Klux Klan in the South.”

A century ago, during the fighting that took place along the border during the Mexican Revolution, blood flowed like the Rio Grande. “The terms ‘death squads’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ would not enter common usage for another sixty years or so,” Swanson notes, “but that was what the Rangers were and what they did.”

Earlier this month, the City of Dallas approved the removal of a Texas Ranger statue from Love Field.

Chapman credits the revelations in Swanson’s book for motivating that action.

With the ongoing fight for racial equality creating momentum for widespread change — such as the renouncing of flags and removal of other symbols that have represented oppression — Chapman feels the door is also open for MLB and the Texas Rangers to follow suit.

Rangers name has been protested before

This is not the first time the Texas Rangers name has been publicly challenged.

As Chapman himself notes, Domingo Garcia, a former Dallas City Council member who is national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, recalled his group holding demonstrations to protest the name in 1972. The franchise then known as the Washington Senators was renamed after relocating to Texas following the 1971 season.

“We’ve been the victims of Texas Ranger violence since the 1800s,” Garcia said in a recent interview.

It is acknowledged that the current agency has done well to restore the Rangers’ reputation. The group is now held in much higher regard, which makes the Rangers name a little easier for some to accept. But Chapman argues the name was chosen based on the Rangers’ history, and that the entirety of that history shouldn’t be ignored.

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