I find this one to be utterly fascinating. Major League Soccer just announced that it would be creating an expansion team in Atlanta. How did the official Twitter of the Columbus Crew respond? With this.
In all seriousness here, if William Tecumseh Sherman isn’t a war criminal, then the term really doesn’t have any meaning at all. He completely terrorized the civilian population of the south, encouraging violent retribution against unarmed citizens as “punishment” for secession. He carried out a “total war” campaign that was considered barbaric under any legitimate standard of the rules of warfare. After the war between the states, he would carry on this concept, managing the government’s extermination campaign against the Plains Indians.
Now look, I appreciate a joke as much as the next guy. I’m not going to claim some ridiculous outrage. This picture doesn’t “offend” me, and it is clever in a certain way. I’m just asking for a bit of consistency here. Can you imagine the German soccer team taunting the French soccer team with a picture of Adolf Hitler? If you that analogy is entirely inappropriate, then you probably need to do a little more research on Sherman. In fact, several years ago, it was a minor controversy when Mexican soccer fans chanted “Osama” at the U.S. national team. Journalists were outraged, and considered this to be highly inappropriate.
The fact that Sherman is treated as a hero rather than a war criminal is just one more piece of evidence that ignorance of the details of the war between the states permeates American culture. I’m not for publicly shaming an organization for an attempt at humor, and I don’t seek to silence or censor anybody. I’d just like a little bit of consistency when it comes to these things.