The Problem with Chief Wahoo

Cleveland swept the BoSox and will face our Jays in the ALCS. It all starts Friday night.

I've been intentionally referring to their team as "Cleveland" and not by the nickname "Indians" because I'm not comfortable with it. I know the story of Louis Sockalexis and understand it's meant as a tribute, I personally just choose not to use it.

The bigger issue is Chief Wahoo. I grew up with Cleveland in our AL East division and watching Major League, and Chief Wahoo always seemed wrong, but in my adult years he seems outright offensive. Chief Wahoo is a racial caricature.

Cleveland_Indians_logo.svg

Even if Cleveland doesn't change their nickname, the time to retire Chief Wahoo as their logo has long passed.


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Douglas

Cleveland has been edging out the use of Chief Wahoo for years now. If you look at the Indians' web site/home page, you'll see the currently used primary logos: the red "C" (usually on a navy background), "Indians" in script, and "Cleveland". Chief Wahoo is a core part of the team's history, and the team's fans will admit to being part of the "tribe". Chief Wahoo isn't up for elimination, but he is being marginalized.

October 11, 2016 @ 10:05 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Douglas

I watched game three from Fenway Park last night and Chief Wahoo was featured prominently on their ball caps.

So they're doing a shitty job of phasing him out.

October 11, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

Keith

Great logo.

October 11, 2016 @ 11:20 AM

Ryan G

Maybe in 50 years from now, absolutely everyone will look back at the use of this logo and will be aghast, whereas today, many of us alive today are just so used to it and see it as relatively harmless and part of tradition. They used to have the Negro leagues too which was bizarre all on its own for many reasons, and now I feel like Hitler even typing that iteration of the N word here.

I went to West Hill C.I. in Scarborough and our sports teams/mascot was the West Hill Warriors. It was featured on jackets, gym walls,etc, but it wasn't a caricature like the Indians mascot. It was a brave looking, more realistic depiction of an Indian warrior, but I believe that too has been eliminated completely from all school related visuals, with only a text reference to the "Warriors".

I suppose it's just part of our planet's social evolution. To a much lesser extent, this reminds me a little of the question posed to Gene Roddenberry about Patrick Stewart cast as the captain of the Enterprise in TNG. The interviewer said that surely there'd be a cure for baldness in the 25th century. Roddenberry replied that in the 25th century, nobody would care.

October 11, 2016 @ 11:49 AM

Sidney Crosby's Air Bag

Basically any cartoon image is offensive to some one somewhere ban all cartoons!!

October 11, 2016 @ 12:01 PM


James Edgar

It's offensive because it's a corporate logo that they make money off. Using racist images to make money is pretty pretty low.

It has nothing to do with it being a cartoon. Considering there's billions of ways to make money that don't involve being racist dicks. Maybe they could figure out a way to make a change.

Unless of course they ARE racist dicks and just don't want to.

October 11, 2016 @ 2:44 PM

Tim

If Cleveland was called the uncle toms, we would not be having this conversation. Chief Wahoo is racist and The Washington redskins is racist. Racism is not the domain of African Americans. I think that the Asian American depiction on Two Broke Girls is highly racist and offensive

October 11, 2016 @ 3:59 PM


Ian Paisley

And the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame! So this thread will die when white guilt is interrupted by something that really matters like the final summer Hydro bill?

October 11, 2016 @ 7:55 PM

Cambo

@TMike

You're not alone- Jerry Howarth will refuse to refer to them as the "Indians" during the playoffs- and there after.

I think we can get off of calling all teams by native-American names. Mohawks, Reds, Indians etc. Let's grow up bit, shall we?

They can turn this into something positive by holding naming contests with season tickets or something.

@Ian

White guilt?? No one is feeling guilty (white or not). So let's rise above the Trump-ism and act with some respect for other people and cultures. Just because teams have these legacy stupid names, doesn't make it OK.

October 12, 2016 @ 7:42 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Good on Jerry for not using Cleveland's nickname. I had no idea when I wrote this entry, I just knew that I wasn't going to use it.

I always liked Ian White as a Leaf.... but this isn't white guilt. This is about being decent.

October 12, 2016 @ 9:02 AM

Tim

Well said Cambo. Lets face it, a lot of hurtful names have been used in the past and are not acceptable now. Notre Dame fighting Irish needs to go. So does calling a police wagon a paddy wagon. Ticket re-sellers on the street are not scalpers. Somebody who gives you something and then takes it back is not an Indian Giver. The names that we use in everyday speech are going to be hard to get rid off but a sports team name is an easy fix.

October 12, 2016 @ 9:41 AM

Wayner

As I understand it Jerry Howarth just stopped using the term without fanfare a few years ago. Did anyone notice?

October 12, 2016 @ 4:01 PM

twins from bolton

I have coached in the past for Bolton Baseball for over 10 years & on Exec. Committee with my wife volunteering for at least 9 years. That was 7-8 years ago. Both sons played Rep also & were proud to wear the jersey - THEN.
Our Rep & Select team names were the Bolton Braves (including logo with tomahawk, same as Atlanta Braves & paid very small fee to use it every year). 4 or 5 years ago the Junior & Senior Rep teams changed their names to Dodgers & Brewers.
I have kept in contact with many of the current Exec. Committee member as freindships evolved during our time there.
I emailed a person a few days ago about the current discussion about native names & logos & asked their thought. This situation has "ballooned" significantly the last few days & the response from them was it hasn't been discussed. There other teams in YSBA with similar names (Reds, Hawks, Warriors).
Is it time to make changes?? It's gotta start at major league level & filter down.
Worst is the Washington Redskins by far.

Keep history or change now.


October 12, 2016 @ 7:09 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I remember when the Runnymede Redmen became the Ravens.

October 12, 2016 @ 7:13 PM

Luigi

In Brooklin, the lacrosse team is still the Redmen and this past summer they played a series against the Six Nations Chiefs, so I guess it's still a thing. The Cleveland team can really make a lot of money and get a lot of positive attention if they ditch the Indians name and logo and do a 'name-the-team' contest for the fans. Plus, they'd be able to turn a page on a franchise that's done next to nothing for close to 70 years.

October 13, 2016 @ 2:31 PM

Cheryl

The name shouldn't change. orget Jerry. I will be listening to the Indians feed tonight like I always do. Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus are great and will always use the name Indians or Tribe and they will win. Of course they will.

October 14, 2016 @ 8:25 AM

Cambo

@Cheryl

Here we go.

Would you still cheer for Cleveland if they were called the "Cleveland Blacks", or the "Hispanics"? What about the "Jews"?

Why is "Indians" OK? Did someone ask the Native Americans if we could mock their likenesses with the "Tomahawk Chop"??

October 14, 2016 @ 1:09 PM

Anonymous

This from another website and should put an end to a really non-issue.

"I strongly object to the use of the word "Toronto." According to the city's own website, this is an aboriginal term meaning "where there are trees in the water" and I feel that it illegally appropriates the native culture and thus must be banned immediately from all future baseball broadcasts."

October 15, 2016 @ 5:32 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@anonymous

Don't be obtuse.

October 15, 2016 @ 8:29 AM

Nick Swisher

@Cambo

The word "Indians" is only bad because someone told you it was bad. Maybe read up on how the name came about. Otherwise, let's ban the name "Yankees" because it's offensive toward Americans.

Or we can stop with the fake outrage and let the teams name themselves whatever they want. If they choose poorly the people will show their (lack of) support by ignoring the team, forcing them to change their ways.

October 17, 2016 @ 5:51 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Most can agree its time for this symbol to be fazed out, but what really gets me is how fast this got before the courts to be heard. We have murder cases etc. where the accused gets to walk due to delays in the court proceedings.
How did this get to be a priority?

October 18, 2016 @ 9:10 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rick C in Oakville

Because this was particularly time sensitive.

October 18, 2016 @ 9:18 AM

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