Home Social Justice Cleveland Indians bid farewell to controversial Chief Wahoo

Cleveland Indians bid farewell to controversial Chief Wahoo

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Chief Wahoo

The longtime logo will not appear on the MLB team’s uniform in the 2019 season. The logo has been called racist. 

The Cleveland Indians announced Jan. 29 they will remove their controversial “Chief Wahoo” logo from their uniforms for the 2019 season.

The decision was made after Rob Manfred, the Major League Baseball commissioner, pressured the team and its owner, Larry Dolan, to get rid of the logo that has been with the team since 1947. The Cleveland Indians could not be reached directly for comment.

“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,” Manfred said in a statement on MLB.com.

While the team will remove the logo from their uniforms next season, it will still sell limited merchandise that features the mascot so they can retain trademark rights. The logo will not be on uniforms when Cleveland hosts the All-Star game in 2019.

This move comes after years of criticism and protest from Native Americans groups that say the logo is racist. For years, Native Americans gathered in front of Progressive Field to protest the logo at the Indians’ home opener.

Ohio U Professor Victoria LaPoe, the Vice President of the Native American Journalists Association, criticized the practice of using Native Americans and their culture as part of a sports team’s marketing.

“Anytime you turn communities into products to be sold, you take away human rights,” LaPoe said.

“And so I personally don’t believe any team should situate themselves around a community and then sell it for profits, for them, essentially. Especially caricatures and offensive elements.”

While Native American groups celebrated the removal of the logo, some Cleveland fans say they were disappointed by the news.

The Indians’ home opener is scheduled for April 6, against the Royals. Chief Wahoo merchandise will be sold from the field’s souvenir shops for the opener.

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