The Top Reasons Why Chief Wahoo may be on the Way out of Cleveland
The Cleveland Indians have been using the Chief Wahoo logo for many years. In recent years the logo has brought out to be racist towards Native Americans. Now that the Indians have had recent success in the MLB, people are starting to complain about the logo. Many people won’t even say the Indians name and will only call them Cleveland. There have been many protests for a change and now the MLB is stepping in. Here are seven reasons why people might finally get their change in the Indians’ logo.
- MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred, wants a change in Cleveland
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has met with the Cleveland Indians representatives this offseason to discuss the logo change. Rob Manfred reportedly wants the Indians to phase out the Chief Wahoo logo and eventually get the named changed. Some fans may recognize the simple block letter C introduced in 2014 for alternate merchandise, most are more familiar with the Chief Wahoo logo, a red-skinned Indian man logo seen above. Native Americans in the Cleveland area have protested at Indians games since the 1970’s, and President Bill Clinton refused to wear gear branded with the logo when he threw out a pitch in 1994.
- New Policies for the Indians
The Indians have started phasing out the logo for about three years but, don’t won’t to completely get rid of the logo. If you were to look around Progressive Field you’d see an overwhelming more of the block “C” over Chief Wahoo. The Organization has made changes, including, transitioning away from a few uniforms that featured Chief Wahoo. The main uniform that took the most heat was the tan jersey that read INDIANS in red letters across the chest. Tan pants with red hats with the block C on the hat, and Chief Wahoo on the sleeve of the jersey.
- Racist to Native culture
A common belief is that the name originated to pay tribute to a Native American named Louis Sockalexis, who briefly played for the Cleveland Spiders and died of a heart attack at age 41. In 1920, the Indians had lost another one of their own; Ray Chapman, who was hit by a baseball in the left temple, and died 12 hours later, being the only player in history to die from an accident on the field. Cleveland Indians organization has been under constant scrutiny and criticism by those claiming the logo was racist and inconsiderate. The logo was given the title “Chief Wahoo”, and was altered several times; each version being relatively short lived until 1951, when the iconic cartoon Indian with a red face and protruding feather made its debut.
- Legal action may take place
The efforts of the indigenous activists to seek the legal action on the issue to order the ban of the Cleveland Indians from wearing uniforms that bear the name and the logo of chief wahoo as they play was brought to play. Despite the efforts of these activists to stop the use of the logo, the court denied the request of Douglas Cardinal to issue an order to ban broadcasting of the name and the logo until the human rights complaints are presented (Miller, 2002). Nevertheless, they were happy as they had elevated the nations well as the global awareness of the issue. As mentioned by the leader of the activists, Cardinal that they are optimistic that being that the issue has been presented to the court, action will be taken on the Cleveland baseball team, as well as recognize the harm that the team’s racist name and logo would cause (Hemmer, 2008).
- History before Chief Wahoo
Baseball has been an extremely prevalent sport and source of entertainment in Cleveland since the 18th century, making its professional debut in 1869 when the league was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, Cleveland baseball has been through a variety of league and name changes including; “Forest Cities”, “Blues”, “Spiders”, and “Infants”. In 1901, Cleveland was established as a major league franchise while going by “Cleveland Infants” or “babes” owned by a coal baron named Charley Somers.
- The Indians are Marketing away from Chief Wahoo
Now that the Indians are slowly transitioning away from Chief Wahoo, they need to get the fans to buy in with the idea. Fans have been familiar with the Chief Wahoo logo and want to keep it because of the history behind the logo. The Indians organization has made the block C all over the ballpark. They are trying to get the fans more familiarized with the block C and start moving on from Chief Wahoo. They have replaced most Chief Wahoo logos with the block C in the ballpark. Anywhere you look now the block C has taken over the Chief Wahoo. The Indians have defiantly made the initiative to get the block C out there and step away from Chief Wahoo.
- Public Response
There exist so many different ways in which the Chief Wahoo logo has raised the eyebrows of many people in the public domain. Though the logo is loved by a good segment of Cleveland fans, it is seen as an offensive caricature of the Native Americans. The use of the Indians as the names of those teams has also led to some discussion which in turn has brought about the formation of professional organizations that represent the educational rights, civil rights, athletics as well as the experts in sciences that published a law. There have been protests ever since to oppose the use of the logo and the name; it gets noted that in each opening day, there was a demonstration by the Native Americans about the continuous use of the Chief Wahoo logo. However, the management of the teams defended themselves that they had no ill intentions of using the name and the logo but rather to honor the Native Americans.