ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Ruben Navarrette: The real Texas Rangers have shown they have no honor. Remove name from baseball.

From the commentary: The Uvalde massacre was a test for the Texas Rangers, and they failed miserably.

An officer walks outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. An 18-year-old gunman killed 14 children and a teacher at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday, according to the state's governor, in the nation's deadliest school shooting in years.
An officer walks outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. An 18-year-old gunman killed 14 children and a teacher at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday, according to the state's governor, in the nation's deadliest school shooting in years.
(Allison Dinner/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
We are part of The Trust Project.

Ruben Navarrete column logo
Ruben Navarrete column logo
Kit Grode / Tribune graphic
From the commentary: So California, if you're planning to settle up with other groups, you should at least acknowledge that Mexican Americans also have a claim — even if we don't pursue it.
From the commentary: Voters are not saluting the idea that Joe Biden should be the Democratic nominee in 2024.
From the commentary: Those of us who want immigration reform ... aren't supposed to express our frustrations out loud.
From the commentary: Latinos needed a feel-good story, and we've been waiting for a hero we can be proud of. ... Rich Fierro is the one. His bravery helps the nation see who we really are and what we bring to the party. The story of Latinos in the United States must be told — in full. In a bloodstained crime scene at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, an inspiring chapter was written.

SAN DIEGO — Columnists are often wrong but never in doubt. And we almost never apologize.

It's my turn. I got something wrong. It wasn't a fact, quote or statistic. It was an error in judgment. Every columnist should be able to tell a good topic from a bad one. While it's OK to swing and miss now and then, you shouldn't let a good pitch get past you.

Several months ago, I was pitched a topic. I passed. I thought the subject was trivial. I was wrong.

ADVERTISEMENT

The pitch came from my compadre Enrique. He loves baseball. What he doesn't like is injustice. He won't flinch in taking on a newspaper, cable network or politician who mistreats Mexicans or Mexican Americans.

There is plenty of mistreatment going on in the Lone Star State, where few institutions are more revered than the law enforcement agency known as the Texas Rangers.

Founded in 1835, the Rangers are the stuff of legend. Texas Ranger Frank Hamer led the posse that, in May 1934, killed bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow — a pair of outlaws better known by their first names. Hollywood told that story again and again, but Tinseltown's love affair with the Texas Rangers was just getting started. Later, there was the Lone Ranger. Then came "Lonesome Dove" - the miniseries adaptation of the bestseller by Larry McMurtry — which told the story of retired Texas Rangers Woodrow F. Call and Augustus "Gus" McCrae. And finally there was "Walker, Texas Ranger" starring Chuck Norris.

Growing up the son of a cop in Central California, I learned early on from my dad the saying "One riot, one Ranger."

But what is not often talked about — with the exception of the occasional book or documentary — is the dark side of the Rangers' history. From 1848 to 1948, the Rangers terrorized, beat and killed what is estimated to be thousands of Mexicans and Mexican Americans. In a 60-year period, from 1848 to 1928, more than 500 people were lynched by the Rangers.

The Mexican Revolution, from 1910 to 1920, produced tension between Texas and Mexico. According to historians in the Southwest, the Rangers — in a reign of terror known as "La Matanza" — murdered thousands of Mexicans and Mexican Americans. In the January 1918 assault on the West Texas town of Porvenir, Rangers killed 15 unarmed Mexican American boys and men. Then they burned the town to the ground, forcing the remaining residents — mostly women and children — to flee.

For their sins, the Rangers came to be known — among Mexicans — as "los diablos tejanos" ("the Texan devils").

And, oh yeah: Today the Rangers have a Major League Baseball team named after them.

ADVERTISEMENT

To add irony to injury, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, nearly 30% of professional baseball players are Latino.

It's more than my friend could stomach.

"The Rangers were vigilantes who used to pursue Mexicans and Mexican Americans and lynch them," he said. "They have a horrible history."

Since 2000, this activist has been on a crusade to change the name of the Texas Rangers baseball team to something less offensive. If the team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians can now be referred to as the Cleveland Guardians, surely anything is possible.

Still, when Enrique tried to persuade me to write a column on the subject, I passed. Now I've come around. I owe my compadre an apology. What changed my mind?

It was the tragic events in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24. That's when a gunman infiltrated Robb Elementary School and killed 19 students and two teachers. Ninety-one officers of the Texas Department of Public Safety — including Texas Rangers — descended on the school and did, well, not much of anything for more than an hour. The assailant was eventually killed by a tactical unit led by the U.S. Border Patrol and not by the Rangers.

Families of the Uvalde victims have filed a $27 billion lawsuit against local and state police, the city and the school district.

The 21st-century version of the legendary lawmen aren't fearless. They're feckless. The Uvalde massacre was a test for the Texas Rangers, and they failed miserably.

ADVERTISEMENT

From the commentary: (Pete) Buttigieg connects with voters. He could be the Democrats' presidential candidate. Or, as a replacement for not-much-loved Vice President Kamala Harris
From the commentary: The American business community is about creating jobs, bolstering our economy, and solving problems, and it will support candidates that bring answers and not fear. That message is a recipe for success for either party to embrace.
From the commentary: In another America where laws were once supposed to be equally enforced (the exception being the rule) and truth was not personal, this would likely not have been a problem.
From the commentary: (The judge) said he’d alert everyone when his ruling was coming. ... And that he would give everyone a chance to respond before he released the report, if (it was to be) released.
From the commentary: It's clear that whatever else happens, sets should be safer as a result of what Baldwin did.
From the commentary: By passing bipartisan laws and enforcing strong ethics, our elected leaders can once again demonstrate that they are working for the people and promoting the common good.
From the commentary: People who threaten to blow up an airplane if their political demands aren't met are political terrorists.
From the commentary: A policy of complete openness in most areas of information would lead to a more useful debate of national security issues and perhaps sounder policy choices.
From the commentary: More than anything else, Democrats’ current harmony reflects the fact that few party members now see themselves as facing such a dilemma (back home).
From the commentary: Every day is a new embarrassment, not just for (George Santos) but for the Republicans in Congress.

Folklore gets you only so far. We name sports teams after institutions to honor them. The Texas Rangers have no honor.

Major League Baseball can do better. A name change is warranted.

Not because of history — because of competency. On that score, on the day when it counted most, the Texas Rangers struck out.

This commentary is Ruben Navarrette's opinion. He can be reached at ruben@wctrib.com.

© 2022, The Washington Post Writers Group

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

WCT.OP.Commentary.jpg

Related Topics: COMMENTARY
What To Read Next
"If we are unwilling to admit that the racism exists in our power structures, people of color will continue to pay a deadly price."
We could all use a good laugh to start out the new year.
"Life is short, ends in a moment, and we don’t think much about it some days. ... It’s a scenic highway, and we should keep it that way, go a bit slower, and enjoy life."
Leadership takes honest reflection and thinking about the needs of others, Jenny Schlecht writes. With that in mind, do we have the right leaders to get a new farm bill passed by Sept. 30?