A week after Washington’s NFL team announced it was dropping its “Redskins” name along with its Indian head logo, MLB’s Atlanta Braves have removed a “Chop On” sign that sat near an entrance to Truist Park.
The Braves say they are still considering their stance on the fans’ tomahawk chop chant.
The removal of the wooden sign came as the team changed its slogan from “Chop On” to “For The A” for the 2020 season.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) July 20, 2020
A new slogan is a customary marketing strategy, but the team’s stance on the chant has received increasing scrutiny.
During last year’s NL Division Series, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, said he found the chant insulting. The Braves did not distribute the red foam tomahawks before the decisive Game 5 of the series, won by the Cardinals, “out of respect for the concerns” expressed by Helsley.
The Braves said they would continue to examine the chant after the 2019 season, a process that continues.
Since there will be no fans at Braves’ home games for at least the start of the pandemic-delayed 60-game season, the team might feel no urgency to release a new policy on the chant.
Braves fans began chopping and chanting in the early 1990s. The team has encouraged the chant by playing music and distributing the foam tomahawks.
Atlanta opens its season at the New York Mets on Friday. The team’s first home game is July 29 against Tampa Bay.
The Braves’ removal of the “Chop On” sign received a mixed reaction on Twitter.
— Bryan Tolar (@btolar) July 20, 2020
A good start….
— David Steen (@dtsteen) July 19, 2020
This is just getting out of hand. Has anyone ever thought that these team names or in this case sculpture is to honor natives? People are too soft in this world nowadays.
— DM (@dbm82878) July 19, 2020
While the Cleveland Indians are considering changing their name, the Braves say they are not: In a letter to season ticket holders on July 10, the team said, “We will always be the Atlanta Braves.”
The Braves said in the letter that they are seeking input from the Native American community, fans, players and former players as they examine the fan experience, including the chant.
In the letter, the team said the chant “continues to inspire our players on the field.”
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