Commissioner Rob Manfred Claims of Chief Wahoo and Indians: ‘Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game’
While Cleveland Indians’ fans may express a fondness for the cartoon caricature Chief Wahoo, many voices in Indian country have long fought against the stereotypical logo.
The decision was a mutual one between the MLB and the Indians franchise who have been in the spotlight the past several seasons due to their appearance in the MLB World Series’ games.
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated in a release. “Over the last year, we invited dialogue with the Indians firm regarding the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo.
During our constructive conversations, Indians proprietor Paul Dolan made clear there are fans that have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its own place in the history of the group.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) January 29, 2018
“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,” said Manfred.
Cleveland Indians proprietor Paul Dolan also issued a statement reply: “We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” said Dolan.” While we recognize many of our fans have a long-standing attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”
The MLB along with the Cleveland Indians have left the choice to have Chief Wahoo eliminated from the on-field uniforms beginning 2019, yet the logo is going to have minor retail existence in order for the Indians to maintain the trademark. That is a legal maneuver to guarantee another group cannot grab it and profit in your Chief Wahoo logo.
In line with the MLB site, that the Cleveland Indians may consider a new emblem in the long run, but will foster the capital letter C for now. There aren’t any current plans to change the Indians’ team name.
A strong force in Indian country, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) have already released a statement applauding the decision by the MLB and the Indians team owner.
“NCAI applauds today’s announcement by Major League Baseball 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 Nation in this effort.”
“NCAI has worked to teach Major League Baseball relating to this issue in recent decades, sending several letters to the league highlighting the importance of eliminating this dangerous mascot and logo, which caused a meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred last year.Damaging imagery like the caricature of Chief Wahoo denigrates Native individuals and is harmful to their self-esteem, particularly for Native youth. Commissioner Manfred recognizes this fact, and consequently kept his word, fulfilling his commitment to work with the group to retire the Chief Wahoo logo.NCAI commends Major League Baseball and Commissioner Manfred for selecting to stand to 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. “All these mascots reduce all Native people into a single outdated stereotype that hurts how Native people, particularly youth, see themselves. Today’s news is a big step in the ideal direction, but much work remains, and NCAI will press on with this battle until every single one of those damaging mascots is gone from the sport landscape.”
“NCAI supports 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 years, NCAI, hundreds of tribal nations, and their many partners have succeeding in removing more than two-thirds (roughly 2,000) of their Native-themed mascots from sports at all levels (almost 1,000 remain now). NCAI is pleased to add the Chief Wahoo mascot and logo to that long list.”
For more information, please visit NCAI’s Proud to Be Initiative to learn how you can join the movement to eliminate harmful Native-themed mascots from sports.