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Friday, Sept. 19, 2014: Nickname debate still alive in Lancaster

   Leading off today: What was the hot-button, non-football football issue that fans and media were debating before Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals was arrested on charges of domestic abuse?

   Oh, yeah, it was Adrian Peterson having to turn himself in to authorities over allegations he inflicted a severe beating while disciplining one of his children.

   Before that? Ray Rice.

   And before that? The Washington Redskins name controversy.

   If the NFL team's battle to keep its nickname in the face of increasingly vocal opposition has momentarily slipped off the radar, The Buffalo News reported this week that the local scholastic version of the debate remains on the front burner in Lancaster, ignited again by a public debate Monday the paper characterized as lively.

   The school board listened to opinions from both sides about the seven-decade-old nickname. Joseph J. Mesler, a Lancaster alumni who identified himself as part Iroquois, spoke in favor of keeping the Redskins nickname. Student Alec Webster, who is part Mohawk, said he was offended by the use of the Redskins name.

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   "Every day, I go to school, and a little piece of me dies, because nobody cares about our culture or where I come from," Webster said.

   Fellow senior Syanne Ramirez, who also is part Native American, said she is not bothered by the use of the name. "When are they going to remove Andrew Jackson from the twenty-dollar bill?," she asked. "He killed more Indians with his trail of tears than anyone. Yet, we honor him."

   District administrators and board President Kenneth E. Graber said no decision has been made regarding the future of the nickname and that a more formal committee will study the issue and gather input. Graber also said the district is not under any pressure from state or federal government officials to make a change.

   Already, the district has enacted a policy of no longer ordering athletic uniforms with the Redskins name out of concern of the financial impact if the district drops the name, the paper reported. Also, the district recently discontinued the practice of allowing a student to dress as a Redskins mascot at sporting events out of concern that it could put a student in a difficult situation, Superintendent Michael J. Vallely said.

   Cooperstown dropped its Redskins name a year ago after students there lobbied the district to do so. The Oneida Indian Nation donated 10,000 to the district to help offset the cost of new sports uniforms.

   Headley no longer at CCNY: Just hours after The Journal News reported he allegedly engaged in a sex act with a student during his time as Peekskill's girls basketball coach, the City College of New York cut ties with assistant women's basketball coach Rodney Headley Jr., the paper reported.

   "I can say only that Mr. Headley is no longer with the athletic department," Sports Information Director Michael Rupp told the paper.

   The school has removed Headley's website biography and the press release announcing his hiring. football site

   Wardrobe malfunction: I'm no expert, but I think somebody owes the Warwick cross country team a make-good:

   Special guest: The oldest living Aquinas alum will take part in the pregame coin toss for Saturday's homecoming game against St. Joseph's.

   Pete Tierney, 100 years old and a lifelong Rochester resident, was a member of the school's class of 1931 and, as a senior, played halfback and defensive back on the first football team that wore the Aquinas jersey.

   "That was the days of soft leather helmets and no face guard," Tierney told the Democrat and Chronicle. "Some of the guys had bamboo strips on their legs (for thigh pads)."

   Tierney said he is legally blind but he reads the newspaper with a magnifying device. He doesn't pay too much attention to pro sports "because the announcers feel they are the show," he said. "They talk about everything but what's going on."

   More later, I hope: I have a few more blog items warming up in the bullpen and hope to post them later Friday, though I'm also currently awaiting word on whether my presence is required in court ... as a juror candidate, not a defendant.

   If time is short, I'll be back Saturday instead to catch up.

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