Tobacco Avenue reporter Heather Hart today said she was having difficulty writing an article about Nutzy, the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ new mascot, and how its name bears a striking resemblance to the German organization responsible for the extermination of 6 million Jews.
“There’s really no getting around it: ‘Nutzy’ sounds like ‘Nazi.’ The mascot even has [the Third Reich’s] colors of red and black,” Hart said, frustrated with how to convey such a controversial yet humorous similarity in a news story without offending anyone. “Who is running the Flying Squirrels’ marketing department, anyway? Let me guess: Joseph Gerbils?”
Additionally, Hart said, the Flying Squirrels’ logo with outstretched arms clearly appears to be giving the Nazi salute, used in the 1940s as a means of showing subservience to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, widely regarded as one of the worst human beings of all time.
“I mean look, Superman flew with outstretched arms, and no one called him Hitler. People dive into pools with outstretched arms, and nobody thinks swimmers hate Jews,” Hart said. “I’m sure the Flying Squirrels having nothing against Jewish people…But a mascot named Nutzy, with the Z instead of an S, painted colors matching that of the Nazis, and an angry look on the mascot’s face? It’s rather questionable.”
The reporter did say she was looking forward to “having a little fun” with the story’s lede, or first sentence, in order to capture the attention of readers.
“I’ve been toying with calling the player who hits the most home runs on the Squirrels a ‘Big Hitt-ler,’ or saying that The Diamond will soon become a place to drink beers, eat hot dogs and socialism with friends and family,” she said. “Or maybe a crack about what goes on at the spring training camps the Squirrels will attend.”
“But that would really be pushing the envelope,” she added.
Hart noted that she was looking forward to the Flying Squirrels’ first homecoming game in September, when the team takes on the Winston-Salem Basterds.