You probably have read commenter Tmstffrd's post on the UNLV controversy, as well as maybe heard of something brewing in Southern Nevada thanks to Nevada politics and the Huffington Post about the Hey Reb! mascot.
Let's go over this once and for all without getting spidery:
Hey Reb! is not going away. The Rebels nickname is not going away. The fuss about the mascot and nickname are reactionary due to a horrific and sadly tragic event that happened over 2,000 miles away. While there are arguments in South Carolina about flying the Confederate flag, opponents of the UNLV mascot should realize the history behind the Rebel moniker and know what exactly the spirit of the UNLV mascot is.
Was there a time when the Rebels mascot was Confederate-heavy? Absolutely, and as Tmstfford pointed out, the power of the students on campus forced the change of the mascot (Au revoir, Beauregard, we won't miss you).
Harry Reid has (sort of) turned back on his comments by even saying he wasn't exactly referring to Hey Reb!
Regardless, let's take a look at what a Rebel is:
A quick Google Search will define a rebel as "a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or ruler."
"a person who resists authority, control, or convention."
While the first definition refers directly to the political/militaristic landscape of the world/country/region whatever, the second definition can be seen as the one that makes even more of an impact on an individualistic level. UNLV students (and really, any person to this point) should be proud of being Rebels, because they don't conform to the norm, they should dare to be different and resist convention.
Famous Rebels because they were rebels with what they did:
Jerry Tarkanian - duh
Ickey Woods - How about re-inventing how you celebrated in the endzone?
Anthony Zuiker - Pretty much evolved the crime-drama genre with the creation of CSI
Eric Whitacre - For those of you who aren't much into the modern classical scene, Whitacre has blown people away with his choral compositions and has a Grammy to show for it.
Guy Fieri - Hate him or love him, you can not deny the impact he's made on food travel shows.
There are much more, but the thing that ties these people together is their unwillingness to conform to the standard. So whether you are a rebel or a Rebel, with or without a cause, that spirit lives in each and every individual.
Hey Reb! is a mascot with an independent spirit, and the Rebels are associated with a university who dare to be different from their rivals up north.
And in Nevada: a state steeped in the culture of the Wild West where being a rebel was the norm, the name and mascot more representative of the people than you know.