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Indians axe “Chief Wahoo” logo

The Cleveland Indians announced the removal of their 70 year old logo for the 2019 season.

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Today, the sports world took a step in the right direction when the Cleveland Indians announced the removal of the team’s “Chief Wahoo” logo on all uniforms in 2019.

The move was made after discussions between team owner Paul Dolan and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

The buck-toothed cartoon caricature has been a staple of Cleveland’s team since 1948, and while dedicated fans may have some sentimental value toward the logo, it was time for the organization to move on from the outdated representation of Native Americans.

The National Congress of American Indians praised the league for “setting the example for how professional sports can and should respect Native peoples,” but there is still an issue with how the Indians are handling the change. The organization has decided not to relinquish the trademark and continue to sell merchandise in Cleveland in order to prevent the logo from being taken by someone else.

While some fans are happy to still be able to represent the logo, this only shows that the team hasn’t fully committed to abolishing the offensive logo and it takes away from Manfred’s statement

“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 acknowledgment that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.”

Changing insensitive mascots has been a trending issue over the last 50 years for sports at the collegiate level, with major schools like Syracuse, Stanford and Marquette University changing their mascot due to a negative depiction of Native American culture. It even went as far as the NCAA citing 19 schools that were given a choice: Change its team name, mascot or imagery or be prohibited from using them in tournament play and from hosting any NCAA tournament in 2005. Only six universities have changed since then.

It’s time for professional sports organizations to enforce the removal of offensive and insensitive logos, names and mascots. There should be no reason for national teams to negatively represent outdated Native American traditions.

The ownership of the Indians made the right decision today, but the ultimate goal of changing the team’s name and ending all sales of the logo is still a war that is being fought.

There is still a lot to work to be done, but hopefully this can send a clear message to the Washington Redskins in the NFL and the Atlanta Braves in the MLB to consider changing their insensitive names and logos.

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