OT: Cleveland Indians to retire Chief Wahoo logo

Submitted by Unicycle Firefly on January 29th, 2018 at 2:09 PM

It was just announced that Cleveland will be retiring the Chief Wahoo logo starting in 2019.  Always an interesting topic of debate, especially with Dan Snyder seeming so unwilling to bend on a mascot/name that seems even more offensive than Cleveland's. 

Since they're a division rival of Detroit's, we see them quite a bit each season, and it defintely seems that they've already been de-emphasizing Chief Wahoo in recent years, with the block 'C' logo becoming more prominent on their caps and uniforms. 

Thought this might be of interest to some of the baseball fans on the board.



Evil Empire

January 29th, 2018 at 4:38 PM ^

The red C is dull as toast, that's true.  I have bought some Indians gear recently but avoided the chief on principle.  This is a gradual phase-out.  People will still wear it, but I'm glad they won't produce any more.

If they ditch the team name they should resurrect Spiders.  The tough part is that the final Spiders team (1899) was historically bad, having been gutted by their owners when they moved all the good players to their other NL team, the St. Louis Browns. 

They could do all kinds of fun marketing with Spider mascots.  And I can't think of any other teams with that mascot except the University of Richmond, so there wouldn't be any confusion.


January 29th, 2018 at 11:26 PM ^

It's a caricature of course, but in what way does it seek to implement a racial hierarchy in society, inspire prejudice, or otherwise promote biological determinism?
One of the odd realities lost in the self-righteous denunciation of Chief Wahoo and the Redskins, is that sports teams don’t take on names and symbols that they feel represent negative phenomenona or open them to ridicule based on normative standards.  The enduring popularity of Chief Wahoo among a multi-ethnic player and fan base shows that it is not ultimately intended in any way as an expression of bigotry. 
I’ve always thought Chief Wahoo was cute.  And to show I’m consistent with regard to my own race, I find some of the cartoonish depictions of Asians from that era to be cute as well.  Not all.  Many of these caricatures were unambiguously hateful, but I am able to maintain nuance and perspective. Sadly Internet ‘outrage culture’ has weakened our ability to take things in proportion, despite actually having more knowledge to inform our views. 
Ironically, the very people most passionately convinced this logo needs to go, are often the same ones who in other ways continue to embrace the 'Noble Savage' myth, whence the early 20th century romanticization of Native Americans arose. 
The polling done in response to the Redskins debate has further shown the disconnect between the views of critics, who listen to unrepresentative activists, or worse, simply wish to appear ‘right-thinking’ to lift tehir social stock, and ordinary Native Americans.


January 29th, 2018 at 3:32 PM ^

I am a white dude, so my opinion on this is somewhat meaningless, but to me, the Blackhawks logo is not overtly offensive. The logo appears to me to be trying to portray an actual image of the man known as "Black Hawk", the Saux American Indian war chief.


"The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League indirectly derive their name from Black Hawk. Their first owner, Frederic McLaughlin, was a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I, nicknamed the "Black Hawk Division" after the war leader. McLaughlin named the hockey team in honor of his military unit."


IMO, only a member of the Saux tribe is really qualified to say how the image makes them feel. 


January 29th, 2018 at 10:58 PM ^

...under the influence of Critical Race Theory is exemplified in this mentality:
"I am a white dude, so my opinion on this is somewhat meaningless…”
"...only a member of the Saux tribe..."
That mentality is fundamentally at odds with holding views based on consistent application of reason and evidence.  It grounds truth and analysis in immutable biological characteristics rather than intellectual rigor. It's a betrayal of the Enlightenment.


January 29th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

I don't know much about Snyder so your statement may be very true.

One other perspective: The Indians are not changing their team name. They are removing the use of a mascot. They will still be the Cleveland Indians. As has already been pointed out, they had started using Chief Wahoo less and less over the past couple years.

In the case of Washington, you would need to rename the whole team. All of their appareal would be significantly changed.


Jack Harbaugh

January 29th, 2018 at 2:31 PM ^

I support the change of the logo but changing a team name from something non-offensive to something else is stupid. But as you wish we no longer have the Celtics, Kings, Patriots, Saints, Titans, Warriors, Packers, Brewers, Pirates, Mariners, Devils, Senators, Flyers, or Canucks as these are all offensive. It’s totally offensive to name your team after any sort of person or people’s.

Jack Harbaugh

January 29th, 2018 at 2:57 PM ^

I really don’t see how Indians is offensive. It’s not derogatory in any way. It’s more of an honor than anything. Canucks is a derogatory name for Canadians by most Americans. Celtics is no different than Indians and I see no one calling for the change of that name. I’m merely pointing out the overly PC culture of changing anything that white people find offensive FOR other cultures.


January 29th, 2018 at 3:12 PM ^

Celtics is no different than Indians

There is a key difference between having a white person name his team after other white people (Celtics), and having a white person name his team after non-white people (Indians).  Appropriating someone else's ethnic group for your own purposes is touchy, to say the least.  And here we are talking about people who were conquered, marginalized and not even granted U.S. citizenship until the 1920s.

Having a logo like Chief Wahoo doesn't help, either.



January 30th, 2018 at 6:05 AM ^

So, can I name my team "da woos" because I'm part Italian? I'm not Irish, so if I named my team the Celtics, would that be racist? What if a Lakota Indian named his team the Seminoles?

I see your point -- and I agree mostly. But where does the line get drawn? Its skin color, not cultural ties, right? Because Lakota and Seminoles are very different. But we'd be ok with that. (Lets be honest, we wouldn't even know the difference.)

L'Carpetron Do…

January 29th, 2018 at 3:13 PM ^

Yeah but Canucks is a term for Canadians. And they're Canadians and they use that term, not in a derogatory way.  They didn't pick an insulting name for themselves.  They might as well be the Vancouver Canadians (as opposed to Canadiens I suppose). Its basically the same thing as the Yankees, they might as well be the New York Americans. People abroad use the term derisively but in America its not a negative term. There's nothing wrong with Canucks or Yankees.

Celtics approaches racial territory a little but its not as bad because the logo, while silly, isn't quite as caricaturish. And if I recall correctly, the team's origins grew out of Irish athletic clubs in Boston, which of course has a large Irish population. As an Irishman myself, I'm not that crazy about the idea of the Fightin' Irish. But again, this grew out of the student body at ND which was heavily Irish back in the day (and still is). 

The Indians and the Redskins, as far as I know, were clubs founded by white people. If they were originally started by actual Native Americans who chose the name to reflect their ethnicity or whatever, then maybe it would be a little more palatable. But it's different if another ethnic/racial group chooses to use it, especially in a negative-stereotypical way to represent themselves.