Big news from the Cleveland Indians today!
Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced today that the Cleveland Indians will remove the “Chief Wahoo” logo from their uniforms, effective with the 2019 season. The announcement comes following thoughtful and productive discussions between Major League Baseball and the Indians.
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” said Commissioner Manfred. “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the Club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team. Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”
“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” said Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan. “While we recognize many of our fans have a longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”
The National Congress of American Indians also released a press release on the heels of this announcement.
NCAI applauds today’s announcement by Major League Baseball that the league’s Cleveland franchise will retire the Chief Wahoo mascot and logo in 2019. NCAI has advocated for the eradication of offensive Native American-themed imagery from sports since 1968, and today’s announcement represents an important milestone for Indian Country in this effort.
NCAI has worked to educate Major League Baseball about this issue in recent years, sending several letters to the league highlighting the importance of removing this harmful mascot and logo, which resulted in a meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred last year. Damaging imagery like the caricature of Chief Wahoo denigrates Native people and is harmful to their self-esteem, particularly for Native youth. Commissioner Manfred recognizes this fact, and thus kept his word, fulfilling his commitment to work with the team to retire the Chief Wahoo logo. NCAI commends Major League Baseball and Commissioner Manfred for choosing to stand on the right side of history.
“Today’s announcement marks an important turning point for Indian Country and the harmful legacy of Indian mascots,” said NCAI President Jefferson Keel. “These mascots reduce all Native people into a single outdated stereotype that harms the way Native people, especially youth, view themselves. Today’s news is a big step in the right direction, but much work remains, and NCAI will press on with this struggle until every single one of these harmful mascots is gone from the sports landscape.”
MLB is setting the example for how professional sports leagues can and should respect Native peoples. NCAI encourages all major professional sports leagues to follow the lead of Major League Baseball by retiring all offensive Native American-themed mascots, names, and imagery.
Over the past four decades, NCAI, hundreds of tribal nations, and their many partners have succeeding in eliminating more than two-thirds (roughly 2,000) of the Native-themed mascots from sports at all levels (nearly 1,000 remain today). NCAI is pleased to add the Chief Wahoo mascot and logo to that long list.
So the announcement says the logo will be removed from uniforms. It has a lot of people wondering if the logo will still be on fan merchandise. Also, will the name ever change from Indians to something else? What do you guys think, is the logo removal enough or are there more steps to be taken?
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