Today, Jan. 29, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred Jr. announced the Cleveland Indians will remove its longstanding-but controversial smiling Indian logo from its uniforms beginning with the 2019 season. However, longtime fans of the team have resisted talk of changing the logo due to their attachment to it and the organization.
The team name "Indians" is going to remain the same.
Despite the forthcoming removal of Chief Wahoo, there has been no discussion over a name-change for the Cleveland Indians. "During our constructive conversations, [team owner] 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", Manfred continued.
Ray Halbritter, a member of Oneida Nation and the leader of the "Change the Mascot" protest campaign, celebrated the change.
Theresa Walton-Fisette is a professor of sports administration at Kent State University and president of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport.
Other Native activists expressed more skepticism.
Sundance was involved in a lawsuit back in 1972, attempting to force the team to drop the logo.
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Philadelphia and Cleveland haven't played since the 2016 season when the Phillies swept a three-games series, which included a Ryan Howard walk-off home run in the 11th inning of the series opener. There aren't many things in MLB more ridiculous than a primarily white crowd of Atlanta baseball fans doing the tomahawk chop while doing a stereotypical "war chant" straight from an old Western movie.
The Indians, a charter member of the American League, were originally called the Blues when the team debuted in 1901.
In truth, he's been dying for a long time as the Indians have walked a fine line between angering its mascot-embracing fans and slowly transitioning away from its use. The ban extends only to on-field displays, meaning Chief Wahoo will still be a fixture on merchandise that's available throughout northern Ohio. That court case was dismissed by a judge. Though it won't be for sale on merchandise through Major League Baseball and it won't appear on jerseys, caps, or in Progressive Field where the Indians play, items with the logo will still be available locally, in stores across northern OH and in the team's shop.
The logo won't be completely gone, though.
"Sadly, the Indians caved to the politically correct society that we are now all forced to live in", Zach Sharon of Cleveland Sports Talk wrote. In 2013, the team began emphasizing an alternative logo in spring training, one that featured a simple block-lettered C in place of the Chief Wahoo logo. "I know I will".
The Indians had already been shifting away from using the symbol. "I remember seeing the little cartoon of The Chief in the paper each day, showing if the Indians won or lost". He described how he grew from a kid who "didn't think of a Native American at all" when he saw the logo to an adult fan who says "the impact is so obviously racist and demeaning". They would use it until 1972 before changing their logo once again. "Not done fighting, but BIG step".
"Important to note: Even with this decision, you can still buy Chief Wahoo merch in OH and at the stadium, and the name is still the Indians", she wrote on Twitter.