Ripper Baseball Controversy in Canada


If the London Rippers were looking for attention, well, they got it – a swarm of criticsm for the name of the city’s newest professional baseball team.

Within minutes of unveiling the team’s new name and logo, the Internet was abuzz with bemused and angry Londoners, interpreting the name as a not-so-subtle reference to serial killer Jack The Ripper.

“London Rippers? Seriously? What, was London Bernardos already taken?” said one Tweet, referring to the convicted schoolgirl killer, Paul Bernardo.

“Wow. The London Rippers. Just. Wow. This is shameful,” said another.

But team president and general manager David Martin was unapologetic, saying the name, Rippers, is a common baseball term that speaks to the bat prowess of the cartoon character they’ve created as part of a marketing strategy.

“That (Jack The Ripper) is not our story,” said Martin, when told about the reaction.

“Ripping a ball is used in baseball all the time.”

Martin said the character’s name is Diamond Jack, a frustrated hockey player who found he could “rip” the cover off baseballs. Despite his talent, teams grew weary of the expense of replacing balls so Diamond Jack decided to form his own team in London, Ontario.

“It’s Phantom of the Opera meets baseball. He’s a mysterious character who is somewhat edgy,” said Martin.

“I think this is going to help redefine baseball in Canada. We wanted to make it fun and make it Canadian.”

But Megan Walker, executive director of the London Abused Women’s Center, wasn’t amused.

“It doesn’t matter what they think, it’s what the people think,” said Walker, noting London’s deep-rooted commitment to ending abuse against women. “You don’t have to be the brightest bulb on the block to realize Jack and Ripper go together. People are outraged. I think it’s appalling. It’s insulting and stupid and they better rethink their entire marketing strategy.”

Martin said the team is hoping to target the hockey fan who enjoys baseball but is not yet committed to the game.

“It’s about people engaging our brand and getting excited about baseball at Labatt Park,” he said.

“It’s got to be about more than just the game between the lines. We’ve got to engage the community with good food and good fun and entertainment and give-aways. It’s all about environment. We want to give them the whole experience.”

Article

I do not really see it as that big of a deal. I do not believe that the owner never thought of Jack the Ripper when naming the team. Even still, Jack the Ripper has kind of become a boogeyman, almost fiction.  If a  member of one of his victim’s families became upset I might be more inclined to sympathize with the nay sayers like Kathy Rumleski who wrote:

Maybe this “joke” could be pulled off in the U.S. but not in Canada.

We don’t put up with that. Glorifying serial killers is not OK…

Maybe I am just not bothered by it because I am an American? (Eye roll)

What do you all think?

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