While the upcoming Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater remasters are pretty similar to the original games apart from a fresh coat of paint, a longstanding trick has had its name changed to better honor the man who invented it.
In skateboarding—both real and virtual—a “Mute Air” is when you grab the front of your board with your forward hand while airborne. It was invented by a skater named Chris Weddle in the early 1980s. Instead of Weddle being directly honored for this achievement, however, the trick was given a nonsensical name that, unintentionally or not, mocked his deafness. It was a different time, and that kind of casual discrimination was generally accepted.
According to Tony Hawk, who today shared this story on his Instagram page, the skateboarding community at large went along with the name until recently, when Weddle was finally asked for his thoughts.
“[Weddle] has been very gracious in his response but it is obvious that a different name would have honored his legacy, as he is hearing impaired but not lacking speech,” Hawk explained. “I asked him last year as I was diving into trick origins and he said he would have rather named it the ‘deaf’ or ‘Weddle’ grab if given the choice.”
And so, when players get their hands on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 in September, they’ll see Weddle’s name instead of the unfortunate label that has been attached to his trick for decades.
As with many hobbies, the upper echelons of skateboarding have long been dominated by white dudes who have the privilege of rarely coming face-to-face with obstacles based on their identity. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 may play like the old games, but in improvements like changing the “Mute Air” to the “Weddle” and expanding the lineup with more diverse skaters, the developers are moving this iconic franchise in the right direction.
“It’s going to be challenging to break the habit of saying the old name but I think Chris deserves the recognition,” Hawk added. “I told Chris recently and his reply was, ‘I’m so stoked!’”