Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My thoughts on the Houston 1836 name change

For an update on the new Houston name, look here.

Over the last 24 hours I have read a lot of comments about Houston changing their name and the thing that stands out to me most is how much anger those against the change have expressed. I'm not surprised that they would be upset, but I am surprised about the direction at which the anger is aimed.

A lot of posts seem to blame Mexican-Americans for the change. This misses the mark so much that if we were on the pitch, the other team would get a throw in. Let's look at what has happened.

After Houston announced their name on Jan. 26, a group of people, many of them Mexican-Americans, took offense at the name and they expressed their opinion freely. These opinions lead the owners of Houston 1836 to decide to change the name.

What is interesting is how many people are upset that a group would take offense at the name. But here is the thing, in America people are free to take offense at anything we feel like taking offense at and we are free to speak out about that offense. This notion is so important to our country that it made a certain top ten list known as the Bill of Rights.

My point is this, if you want the name to stay the same, don't take it out on the group that did not. Instead, let the people who make the decision know your point of view. In this case that is Philip Anschutz, owner of the Anschutz Entertainment Group.

I'll help you get started. Here is AEG's contact information:

AEG Corporate Headquarters - Los Angeles
1100 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 763-7700

You can also contact Houston's management. The only number I can find for the team is their ticket number at (866) 502-6326.

If this decision really upsets you, then stop writing self-righteous diatribes on some message board that nobody who has any say over the decision is going to read and do something about it.

One of the other complaints that I have heard about the name change is related to the vote that was cast to pick the name. You might remember that Houston opened up the vote to anyone. This vote had a list of 13 possible names. Of these choices, 1836 got the most with 20%.

I want to point out a couple of things about this. First, the name was the choice of only 1 out of every 5 people that voted.

Second, this vote was opened to anyone, anywhere in the world that had a computer connected to the internet. Why is this important? Well I'm guessing that folks outside of Texas might not know what happened in the year 1836, thus they did not take it into consideration when voting.

Would the vote have been different if it was restricted to only the Houston area or folks that offered to buy season tickets? I don't know, but that vote would have been a much clearer expression of the team's local fan base.

My point with this is to say that people who say the vote went for 1836 (I even read someone saying that it was a unanimous vote), so they have to keep it 1836, are not straight with the facts. Twenty percent does not equal a clear expression of the will of the voters.

I also want to point out something very strange. A few people seem to blame the name change on the ACLU. Now I don't see a lot of the ACLU's press releases, but I think it would have made news if this organization had taken issue with the naming of a soccer team. To say such a thing, even if it is a lame attempt at humor*, just makes your whole argument look silly. Let's all just try and deal with reality, shall we.

Anyway, I personally like the name, but it was not my first choice. I think it is a shame that the name was not given a chance, but AEG made the decision they thought was best. Am I going to hold it against the team? Nope. I didn't hold it against Dallas when the dropped the burn and added FC, so why would I care about this?

As long as the play on the field is top quality, they can call themselves the Houston "Death to soccer bloggers" and I would still enjoy watching them play.

* If there is one thing I know, it's lame attempts at humor (example - look at the "throw in” and "death to" comments in this post for proof)

Update: DuNord suggested that people upset by all this "call Glenn Davis' radio show in Houston tonite, and let em know how you feel: "The Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis" at 830pm central Wednesday on 790 AM ( features Houston coach Dominic Kinnear and a World Cup update from Berlin."

There is something else you can do.


Blogger brucio said...

hey mike
thanks for writing what you did about this situation
i called aeg headquarters this morning and did not get to talk to anyone with any pull - but i left a nice courteous message telling them that i like the name a lot and that they should not change it
i also called the houston team office and got to talk to president oliver luck - i nicely & passionately told him the same thing
he thanked me for the passion and for caring
but the deal is done
the name is gone
its over
so we move on and pick a better fight to win next time
my only problem with this whole situation is that the potential name "1836" was out there for over a month during the voting and not one person came forward with a public complaint at that time
why now
i really believe that there are people who will find something wrong with everything
i also believe that the people who are complaining have no interest in soccer, its just something they dont like

11:17 PM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Good point about the "1836" name being out there for over a month without any big resistance to it.

However, I do recall reading about this issue somewhere prior to the announcement. I think it was just a random post somewhere, so I don't think it carried much weight. But I do think a few people either did take issue or mentioned that it might be an issue before Jan. 26.

By the way, great job in calling everyone. If nothing else, you made sure they knew that there are two sides to the story.

4:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home