Well, it finally happened.
The politically correct crowd notched a victory against sports tradition, as the Cleveland Indians will remove their iconic Chief Wahoo logo from their uniform in 2019, according to the Associated Press and various other outlets.
The AP reports an official announcement is expected late Monday.
Chief Wahoo has been a hotly debated topic, with some finding the logo to be an offensive caricature of Native Americans while others view the logo as an institution and synonymous with the Indians team.
The Indians have been using the logo with various expressions since 1947.
Indians owner Paul Dolan has been pressured by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred about the hot-button issue, and eventually capitulated to Manfred’s whims.
“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” Manfred said via statement. “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.”
Dolan, much like Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, has been fiercely resistant to changing the team’s logo despite cries from some that the logo and team names are offensive to Native Americans.
“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.
The Indians had already been tiptoeing away from the Chief Wahoo logo in recent years.
A block “C” in the Indians’ team colors has been a popular substitution for the team. It was introduced in 2014.
“We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” Dolan said via statement.
Reading between the lines, it’s hard to imagine Dolan not having his arm twisted by Manfred on the manner.
It can’t be a coincidence that in 2019, the Indians will remove the Chief Wahoo logo in the same year Cleveland will host the MLB All-Star festivities.
“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,” Dolan added.
The great irony in all of this is that the Indians and MLB will continue to sell merchandise bearing the Chief Wahoo logo. They need to do so to maintain ownership of the trademark. So, evidently, Manfred finds the logo racist enough to remove from uniforms, but not racist enough to stop him from making money.
One concession that Manfred may have offered Dolan is the agreement not to alter the team’s name.
While some find the “Indians” moniker just as offensive as the Chief Wahoo logo, there were reportedly no talks about any possible name change.
The natural concern for many traditionalists is that the changing of the logo will preclude a changing of the team name as well.
The Indians will continue to use the Chief Wahoo logo this season.
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