Leading off today:
Two Western New York school districts have called off lacrosse games against Lancaster in opposition to its Redskins nickname and mascot, The Buffalo News reported
Akron announced Friday morning that it is canceling its non-league game with Lancaster on March 31. Lake Shore followed later in the day by canceling both its boys and girls varsity and JV lacrosse games with Lancaster.
Approximately 11 percent of Akron students and 15 percent of those in the Lake Shore district identify as Native Americans. The Akron school campus is near the Tonawanda Creek Reservation, home to the Tonawanda Band of Senecas.
"It was an easy decision for us," Lake Shore Superintendent James Przepasniak told the paper. "We feel this action is in support of the Native American community."
When news of Akron's decision emerged, a Native American student on the girls lacrosse team at Lake Shore approached AD Daryl Besant about canceling its games with Lancaster. Besant took the issue to the superintendent, who conferred with the school board president.
The Lancaster school district released a statement Friday following the Akron and Lake Shore decisions.
"Lancaster Central School District certainly respects the diverse views of others. Specifically, students in a neighboring school district who have decided to take a stand against a mascot they, themselves, find to be offensive and derogatory in nature," Superintendent Michael J. Vallely said in the statement. "We have every confidence in the curriculum department, faculty, and student leadership that, as we continue this process of educating ourselves on the other connotations of the term Redskin and build a context for understanding conflicting points of view, the students will have a wider lens with which to view the issue.
"I hope the Native American community understands that while the mascot is still in place at Lancaster High School, we have worked diligently to treat it with respect and honor, removing any stereotypical behaviors and images, and I would implore their patience and understanding as we continue to educate our students and our community."
Opinion: Since Lancaster administrators have already said that the definitive decision on the Redskins nickname and mascot will not be handed down in the near future, I suspect that we could be looking at more forfeits by opponents this spring.
Whether the decisions to forfeit are the result of a principled stand or out of some sort of peer pressure is really of no consequence. In fact, the decisions by Akron and Lake Shore to not play really have minimal impact since those were going to be non-league games against an opponent in a different sectional classification.
Where the rubber is going to meet the road is when phone calls and emails start reaching the superintendent's offices as Clarence, Frontier, Lockport and Orchard Park (beginning in 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... ) inquiring whether they will also forfeit games. Like Lancaster, those schools play in Section 6's Class A division in the postseason.
Just for the sake of argument, let's say some of the Class A teams start forfeiting games during the regular season.