Major League Baseball has announced that Chief Wahoo will be removed from the Cleveland Indians’ uniforms beginning in the 2019 season, according to the New York Times. It is expected to be replaced by the block “C” that has increasingly been used by the team in the past few years. This comes after years of a divide between fans over the potentially racist and offensive caricature of a wacky Native American.
Merchandise with the logo will still be available for purchase in stores, even in the team’s shop, but it will not appear on their uniforms, signs, or on products on M.L.B.’s website.
A few people are also calling for a change in the team’s name, though this has not been discussed by officials, says the NYT.
For some, this decision is a triumph for their culture. The executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio, Phillip Yenyo, has said that this is “a step in the right direction.” Many Native Americans have also protested the mascot outside of the gates of the stadium during important games, hoping for a change like this one.
Yet, others still believe that not much progress has been made, according to NPR; M.L.B. still owns Chief Wahoo and can still “make money off of that racist image,” in the words of Sundance, member of the Muskogee Creek Nation and Cleveland American Indian movement.
For other fans, such as Zach Sharon from Cleveland Sports Talk, this alteration is a devastation.
“Sadly, the Indians cave to the politically correct society that we are now all forced to live in,” he said. “Thankfully, fans will continue to wear their Chief Wahoo apparel, probably even more now.” His words ring true as seen in the thousands of social media posts of users proclaiming how they will continue using the logo.
The mascot was first used in 1947, according to ESPN, making this Chief Wahoo’s 71st and final year on the Cleveland Indians’ field.