My own alma mater once featured a mascot modeled after a Confederate general (a particularly nasty one at that), and even the idea of bringing back "General Nat" to Southern Miss makes me recoil. Ole Miss has had similar issues with Colonel Reb and its more generic Confederate motif for years. So it doesn't surprise me at all that quite a few folks at Nicholls State have fought for years to distance the school from the origins of the Colonels' mascot, Col. Tillou, named for former Louisiana governor, university namesake and Confederate officer Francis Redding Tillou Nicholls.
This, however, is probably not exactly the corner the school was hoping to turn:
That's a little, well ... I'll let the locals describe their reaction:
"It looked like a Nazi soldier -- a very angry Nazi soldier," said Nicholls alumna Hollie Garrison, 27, who saw the logo online for the first time this month. "My jaw dropped. I was speechless. I kind of thought it was a joke."
"I was appalled," said [2009 NSU graduate Matthew] Marant, 23, who lives in Houma. "The new image seems evil, faceless and inhuman."
Although evil, faceless and inhuman is not the worst image a football team could convey to its opponents, a mascot that could be mistaken for an SS officer is problematic, to say the least. Garrison started a Facebook group to oppose the new logo, which seems to have done the trick for now: The new Tillou is nowhere to be found on the school's official athletic site. As long as it stays that way, I'm sure they can just put all this superficial unpleasantness behind them just like that. Right?
(Additionally -- I'm not sure which is worse: That Nicholls State is so blind to the iconography of the most reviled regime in modern civilization, or that so many of the Google Images results for variations on "Nazi uniform" are "sexy" leather get-ups complete with swastikas. Because nothing says "hot" like genocidal race hatred.)
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Hat tip: The Big Lead.