Unconventional Luck

The Tampa Convention Center is enjoying a spike in good news. Not only will the new, 360-unit Embassy Suites hotel open in June, but another hotel (approximately 340 units) is planned next to it by the same developer (Whiteco Industries). Then diagonally across from the center is a block under contract for a proposed four-star hotel.

Now the center has received word that a big convention it thought it had lost to Richmond, Va., will now be coming here – in 2012. It’s the 1,000-delegate United Methodist General Conference with its estimated $20-million economic impact for Tampa.

The downside is the way it happened. The Methodists backed out when they discovered that the city’s minor league baseball team was the Richmond Braves, an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. The Methodists contend that American Indian monikers are an expression of racism.

Eliminating Washington because of the pejoratived Redskins or Cleveland because of the Indians’ caricatured Chief Wahoo would make some sense. But “Braves?” That smacks more of wearing your political correctness on your sleeve than rooting out racism as an act of conscience.

“Braves?” It’s a good thing we’re Bulls, Rays, Bucs and Bolts – unless you’re counting the best high school basketball team in Tampa: the Chamberlain Chiefs.

Where does it end?

Frankly, who could blame Richmond if, in a moment of frustration and civic pique, it didn’t just decide that if it were going to be branded “racist,” it might as well get its lost money’s worth.

“The Methodists have shown themselves to be the ‘Indian givers’ they are.”

So there.

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