The mascot of the University of North Dakota is the Fighting Sioux. In the late nineties, there was a push throughout the NCAA to change team mascots with racist nicknames/logos. Engelstad embroiled himself in the fight over the Fighting Sioux logo when, during the height of the controversy, he pledged to build a $100 million arena on the UND campus for the hockey program. Midway through construction, it appeared that the university was going to make a name change. Engelstad threatened to withdraw his funding of the then half-finished arena if the sports teams were renamed. The logo was then placed in thousands of instances in the arena, making the prospect of removal a costly measure. Later, Engelstad placed the stadium under private (rather than University) management and stipulated that the Fighting Sioux motif be kept indefinitely. An Engelstad family trust continues to own the arena and rents it to the University. It is rumored that if a name change is pushed through, the trust will have the building razed.
Pretty sneaky sis! But really, what’s an obstructionist, racist, asshole if he doesn’t have a Hitler fetish? In what is becoming a common theme amongst old white nominees, Ralph may take the cake. His Hitlerphilia was discovered in a secret shrine in his casino. According to our good friends at Wikipedia:
His collection of Nazi memorabilia in the casino included a painting of himself dressed in Nazi uniform (captioned "to Adolf from Ralphie"), a painting of Hitler with the reverse caption, and the cars of Nazi leaders. On April 20th in 1986 and 1988, he hosted birthday parties for Adolf Hitler at his casino in Las Vegas which featured bartenders in T-shirts reading "Adolf Hitler — European tour 1939-45". Because of this, in 1989, the Nevada Gaming Commission fined Engelstad $1.5 million for "actions that damaged the reputation and image of Nevada's gaming industry."
Are you kidding me? This man was fined $1.5 million dollars for damaging the reputation and image of Nevada's gaming industry. From what I gleaned watching the movie Casino - that's not an easy image to tarnish. Still, the UND board of trustees took his donation and voted 8-0 to keep the racist nickname. A decision it turns out that may bite them in the ass. As of February 1, 2006, the NCAA will no longer allow any school to participate in any tournament if it uses nicknames or mascots that they consider abusive or hostile on team uniforms.
NoDak may have to take the image off the uniforms but "The Ralph" and it's giant bronze statue of Engelstad will ensure that a financially dependent school will keep vestiges of the racist logo around long after the issue should have gone away. Thanks, Ralph.