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Opinion: Ousting of Chief Wahoo disappointing for Cleveland Indians fans

Cleveland at Kansas City

Cleveland Indians pitcher Chris Perez (54) throws the ball during a game against the Kansas City Royals Sept. 17 at Kauffman Stadium. Cleveland won, 5-3.
Courtesy of MCT

For those of you who are Cleveland Indians fans, the following, while not unexpected, is becoming an unfortunate reality.

Chief Wahoo might very well be on his way out of Cleveland forever.

In recent years, the Indians organization has come under fire from the Native American population for its Chief Wahoo logo. Some say Chief Wahoo is racist and should be retired, never to be used again as a representation for the Cleveland ball club. While I understand the reasoning behind it, I am not for it.

Growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland in the early to mid- 1990’s, my family and I were die-hard Indians fans. My father split season ticket packages with his co-workers so we could see former players Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton and others dominate the American League Central and all the while, the team sported the Chief Wahoo logo.

In recent years, the Indians have noticeably started to phase out Chief Wahoo and incorporate a more conservative block-C on their uniforms. As recent as 2011, the Indians demoted Chief Wahoo from their away ball caps and introduced a red block-C on the traditional navy blue cap.

Chief Wahoo still appears on the home ball caps and on the sleeve of the game jerseys. However, now even the batting helmets, which had never donned anything but Chief Wahoo, are beginning to be overrun by the rather bland block-C.

The Indians are not the only professional sports organization under fire for their controversial Native American representation.

The Washington Redskins of the NFL have also been heavily scrutinized for their portrayal of their nationally-known Redskin logo, which shows a more realistic (compared to the cartoonish Chief Wahoo) maroon-faced Native American with feathers running down the back of his head.

While I am sure we can all understand the uncomfortable position the Indians organization must be dealing with, I have to think that ultimately the organization would not want to disappoint their fans.

If that is the case, we can hope Chief Wahoo will hang around a little longer.

8 comments

  1. So you want Wahoo to stick around simply for nostalgia even though it is the same thing as Native American Sambo picture? You recently had fans at the Cleveland dressed in Red-Face? Its Time For Cleveland to Grow up Get a new name and Mascot.

  2. Maybe we should make the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox change their names because they are too racist?

  3. Political correctness… Whats next?

  4. It is so sad that white people can't hold onto their racist nostalgia. Would it be any more understandable how offensive it is if they were the Cleveland Chinx with a 1940's WWII representation of Japanese people or the Cleveland Africans with a cartoon tribesman that has a bone through his nose? They could go the route of the Florida State Seminoles and get a local Native American tribe to OK a mascot/image that is a proud representation of the their tribe.

  5. Uncle Zane the great white oppressor… The only race that is capable of being racist

  6. Just because you like it doesn’t mean it’s not horribly offensive and incredibly racist.

    – an Indians season ticket holder.

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